Banana peels make a great liquid homemade fertilizer to provide essential nutrients to our potassium-loving plants. But sometimes you just need a shelf-stable option, and it’s tempting just to go to the store and get something that fits the bill. Instead, make this version of homemade fertilizer that you can keep on your shelf for a couple of months, ready to use!
Homemade Fertilizers Are Fun to Make!
It’s a hobby of mine to find ways to stretch our dollars buy using zero-waste ideas to accomplish a goal. Finding one more way to use kitchen scraps before they go into the compost can be kind of like a game for me. I’ve made a delicious syrup from strawberry tops that I can use to flavor my homemade kombucha. I’ve also made fantastic croutons from my stale bread.
Homemade fertilizers made from things I’d normally throw away (or compost) are a fun way to stretch dollars, and garden organically. Of course, whatever I put into the fertilizer should be organic, so in this case, it will be just the banana peels.
Use Organic Bananas for This Homemade Fertilizer
Your best bet for avoiding toxins will be to use organic banana peels. According to an article on the Environmental Working Group website, banana-growing methods are pretty pesticide heavy.
The reason for this is because bananas are grown in monocultures, which means that’s all they grow, and they do it over and over on the same land.
This creates a situation where the banana plants are quite vulnerable to pests and disease, therefore, there is a need for using plenty of pesticide. This is the reason that gardening books recommend rotating crops in your garden.
Most plants need a certain amount of these top three macronutrients: nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. Some plants are more needful of nitrogen, while others are more needful of phosphorus, and still others need a higher level of potassium.
Potassium helps your plants move water and nutrients between cells. It strengthens the stems of your plants and protects them from disease. It is used to help the flowering process and is thought to be able to improve the quality of the fruit of your plants.
At 42% potassium, banana peels are a fantastic source. They are one of the highest organic potassium sources, and is loads higher in potassium than even wood ash. They do not contain nitrogen, which makes using this fertilizer for tomatoes and peppers a perfect choice because they both have a low nitrogen need.
Banana peels also contain calcium, which helps plants take up more nitrogen, which some potassium loving plants need. They also contain manganese, which helps with photosynthesis; sodium, which helps movement of water between cells; and magnesium and sulfur, both of which are helpful in the formation of chlorophyll.
NOTE: Banana peels can be buried whole near potassium-loving plants, if there will be no issue with creatures digging them up. However, whenever there is something to break down in the garden, nitrogen is depleted. If your plants have a good source of nitrogen already, then there is no problem burying a banana peel.
How to Make Dry Homemade Fertilizer from Banana Peels
This homemade fertilizer is pretty easy if your family eats a lot of bananas every week. Our family eats quite a few , so we always have them on hand. To dry them doesn’t take a whole lot. You can use a dehydrator if it’s cold out, but if it’s warm, you can put them in the morning sun with afternoon shade until they are dried and crunchy feeling.
This is what they look like after they are dried. I forgot to take the stickers off, but I’m glad because it reminds me to tell you again that if you are putting this fertilizer into your organic vegetable garden, you’ll want to make sure you are buying organic bananas for this project. I know I said that before. Call me someone’s mom, but there it is.
If you aren’t specifically organic in your gardening, then it’s no worries. There is still plenty of lovely potassium to be had in non-organic peels.
Once they are dry, bring them indoors and cut them with some kitchen shears into half- to one-inch squares. This makes the pieces small enough for any size blender (here’s a better version of a bullet blender pictured below–mine is really old).
Whirl them around until they are almost the consistency of coarse pepper. There will still be a few little stringy bits in there, but that’s alright.
Each dried banana peel makes 1-2 Tbsp. of fertilizer, depending on the size of the peel. It’s common practice to bury a banana peel near the roots of a potassium-loving plant, so it’s safe to say that 1-2 Tbsp. of this fertilizer around your potassium loving plants will be enough.
Use as often as you would use any other fertilizer for your potassium-loving plants, but since this one is mostly potassium, you will want to find out if the plant you are fertilizing has any nitrogen or phosphorus needs as well, and fertilize accordingly.
Looking for a liquid version of this banana peel fertilizer? Here you go.