simple natural living on a budget
simple natural living on a budget
coffee grounds, orange peels, banana peel, egg shells

How to Use Kitchen Scraps in the Garden – Even if You Don’t Compost

When you talk about using kitchen scraps in the garden, most people think of a compost pile. But there are so many other awesome ways to use kitchen scraps in the garden!

How to Use Kitchen Scraps in the Garden - Even if You Don't Compost

I get it. Starting a compost pile isn’t for everyone. Maybe you live in an apartment or on a small city lot where you don’t have the space. Or maybe you just don’t need to take on another project right now. Composting takes some time and effort to do it right. And it can get pretty stinky!

But that’s no reason to let those kitchen scraps go to waste! There’s many other ways to use them in the garden. From adding nutrients to the soil to deterring pests, take a look at some ways to use kitchen scraps in the garden.

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Use Kitchen Scraps in the Garden to Fertilize Plants

Tossing kitchen scraps in the trash is like throwing away free fertilizer for your plants. Here’s a few ways you can use those kitchen scraps to add nutrients to the soil.

Trench Compost Method

Not everyone has enough time or space to start up a traditional compost pile. But there is a solution! You can still get some of that “black gold” into your gardens.

Try trench composting! You can do it right in your gardens, no worries about balancing browns and greens, flipping your compost, or heaven forbid – terrible smells.

Simply dig a trench about 12 inches deep, fill half way with kitchen scraps, and top with dirt. It takes at least 6 weeks for the scraps to decompose, so don’t plant anything right on top of it.

Dig the trenches in an unused garden bed, maybe in the off-season. Then you’ll be ready to plant in the spring. Or you can even dig trenches right in your garden between rows. As the waste breaks down, it will feed the plants.

If you’re wondering what you can or can’t put in your trenches, check out this article: 100 Things You Can (and Should) Compost.

Egg Shells

egg shells in bowl

Egg shells are a great source of calcium for your garden, but they also provide magnesium, potassium, iron, and phosphorus.

Dry and crush egg shells for an easy DIY fertilizer. Add to holes before planting seedlings or simply mix into the soil. Mixing in crushed egg shells also helps to aerate the soil.

Cooking Water

pot on stove

After boiling or steaming veggies most of us dump that water right down the drain. Don’t! The water left is full of nutrients, and makes the perfect plant food.

Let it cool down first, then use the water leftover from steaming or boiling vegetables and eggs to water your plants.

Coffee Grounds

coffee grounds

Coffee grounds are a great source of nitrogen for you garden. You may be worried about making your soil too acidic, but don’t. While fresh coffee grounds are indeed too acidic for the garden, spent coffee grounds are actually neutral.

You can simply work old coffee grounds into the soil to help fertilize your plants. You can also add them to water then use that to water your plants.

Banana Peels

banana peel

Banana peels are another great way to fertilize your garden naturally. They add nitrogen, potassium, phosphorus, sulfur, calcium, magnesium, and sodium to the soil.

Chop into small pieces and bury 1-2 inches deep. You can also dry, grind, and sprinkle around the garden.

Orange Peels

orange peels and slices

They used to say that orange peels were no good for composting. Now we know that’s not true! Orange peels add potassium, nitrogen, calcium, sulfur, phosphorus, magnesium, and sodium to the soil.

Chop or shred dried orange peels into small pieces and sprinkle around plants or mix into the soil.

Use Kitchen Scraps in the Garden as Seed-Starting Pots

Some kitchen scraps can do double duty as both fertilizer, and seed-starters. Plant seeds directly in these kitchen scraps when you want to start seeds indoors.

egg shell with seedling growing in it

Egg Shells

Another great use for egg shells is as seed-starter pots. Sow seeds in egg shells and when the seedlings are ready to plant, give the shell a little crack and pop the whole thing in the ground.

As the egg shells break down they provide calcium and other nutrients to your plants.

Orange Peels

Another great way to use orange peels in the garden is to use them as seed starter pots. Don’t forget to poke a few holes in the bottom for drainage. Then when the seedlings are ready to be moved to the garden, simply stick the whole thing in the ground.

Use Kitchen Scraps in the Garden to Deter Pests

And finally, many kitchen scraps can also be used as a natural pest deterrent.

Hot Pepper Scraps

hot peppers

Here’s a great way to use hot pepper scraps in the garden: make a natural pest deterrent. Blend up those scraps, strain them, and add to a spray bottle with some water. Spray around the garden to deter pests naturally.

Banana Peels

Not only do banana peels add nutrients, but they also repel aphids. Chop into small pieces or grind up dried peels and sprinkle around plants. Be sure to use small pieces or you might end up attracting other pests, like fruit flies.

Orange Peels

Besides adding nutrients to the soil, orange peels also help deter pests like aphids, ants, and even cats.

Egg Shells

Sprinkling crushed egg shells around plants can help deter slugs and snails as well.

Coffee Grounds

Coffee grounds can also be spread around the garden like mulch to deter slugs, cats, rabbits, and squirrels. The problem with this is that it can really stink, so you might want to stick to mixing them into the soil as fertilizer.

Did you find some new ways to use kitchen scraps in the garden?

Now you know that you don’t have have to start a compost pile to get the benefits of that black gold in your garden. Try some of these tricks to grow bigger, healthier, more beautiful vegetables and flowers in your own garden!

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