Can You Compost Cherry Pits? (3 Effective Methods & Tips)

Who does not like to eat fresh cherries? They are juicy and go well in our desserts, ice cream, and cakes. But did you know the pits have some other potential uses too? Cherry pits can, of course, be used for growing beautiful cherry trees, but they can also be a great addition to your soil. So can you compost cherry pits? If so, then how?

Yes, cherry pits can be composted as they contain trace amounts of Calcium, Magnesium, Phosphorous, Sodium, and Potassium that are helpful for plant growth. Grind the cherry pits or crush them before adding them to the compost bin for faster decomposition.

How to Compost Cherry Pits

Cherry pits are brown feedstock and add carbon and other nutrients to the compost pile. But being hard in nature, they take time to decompose and need the right conditions to break down in the compost bin. You can compost cherry pits through the following methods:

  • Hot Composting Method
  • Bokashi method
  • Vermicomposting

But before composting cherry pits, you need to break their tough membrane to make the microbes act upon their pits and accelerate the decomposition process. Here are different ways you can use to expedite the composting process.

  • Soak Them in Water: Soaking cherry pits in water softens the outer membrane of the seed. Thus, take the cherry pits and soak them in water. Let them sit for 24-48 hours, and then you can add them to your compost pile.
  • Crush Them Into Powder: Take the cherry pits and break them into fine pieces with a hammer or blend them into powder in a grinder. You can even roast the cherry pits in the oven and then toss them into your food processor to grind them. 
  • Boil the Cherry Pits: Add the cherry pits to the boiling water. Let them sit for 10-15 minutes, and they are ready to go to your compost bin. You can also wash them several times with the leftover pasta or rice water when you strain the water from these foods. This softens the seeds, allowing them to decompose more quickly.
  • Burn Cherry Pits: Burning the cherry pits and adding the ash would be another great idea to decompose them quickly. Moreover, ash is considered among the most preferred ingredients in the compost bin.

Composting Cherry Pits Via Hot Composting Method

Hot composting is the most preferred method to compost cherry pits and stone fruits that take time to decompose. The intense heat and active action of microbes make the cherry pits decompose relatively quickly in the hot composting method compared to others.

Hot Composting in Garden

Here are the simple steps you need to follow to compost cherry pits through the hot composting method.

Step 1. Set Up your Compost Bin/Pile

Get a composting bin from your nearby gardening store or online and place it in the sunny direction. You can also make a compost bucket at home by poking holes around a bucket or plastic container.

Composting can also be done by piling up the waste in a sunny location.

Step 2. Make a Layer with Brown Materials

Firstly, you need to add the crushed cherry pits to the bottom of the compost bin with other brown materials like yard waste, paper, wood chips, dry leaves, or branches.

Step 3. Make a Layer with Green Materials

It’s time to add some green materials like food waste and grass clippings. These materials will promote the decomposition process by providing energy to the bacteria and fungus, allowing them to grow and reproduce, thereby speeding up the composting process.

Step 4. Repeat the Layers

Add the layers by altering brown and green materials until you have used all the composting materials, and seal the heap with a firm layer of soil on the top.

It is crucial to balance brown and green materials in your compost bin as they are rich sources of Carbon and Nitrogen and help carry out the breakdown process.

Step 5. Maintain your Compost Pile

Your compost bin needs Nitrogen and carbon-rich materials, moisture, and air to decompose the materials and give the final compost. So you need to maintain all the four conditions by turning your compost pile regularly and watering them before the pile loses the moisture.

Also, add adequate green materials regularly to help the cherry pits decompose well. With proper care and maintenance, your compost will be ready within a few months.

Bokashi Method of Composting

The Bokashi method is suitable for urban gardeners who wish to compost inside their homes without much effort. It is an anaerobic composting method and can be used to compost cherry pits.

Bokashi Bran for Bokashi Composting of Cherry Pits

Let us look into the process of composting cherry seeds using the bokashi method.

Step 1. Set up Your Bokashi Bucket

Get an airtight bokashi bucket to ferment the cherry pits and other composting materials. Place the bucket in your home or a shady corner of your garden.

Step 2. Add Cherry Pits to the Bucket

Add the ground cherry pits along with some other food waste to your bokashi bucket.

Step 3. Add Bokashi Bran

Now add the bokashi bran to the bokashi bucket and press the food materials firmly to remove air pockets in the bucket (Remember! It is an anaerobic method), and close the lid.

Bokashi bran contains microbes, and they break your food materials.

Step 4. Drain Bokashi Tea

Bokashi tea is the liquid released during the fermentation process, and it needs to be drained every 2-3 days. Collect this bokashi tea to supplement it as a liquid fertilizer for your houseplants and garden by diluting it.

Step 5. Bury or Compost the Leftover Material

Though bokashi is an excellent method to accelerate the composting of cherry pits, remember that it will not give you the finished compost. Once the fermentation is done within 2-3 weeks, you must compost the fermented materials in your compost bin.

Nonetheless, it becomes easier for the microbes to break down the waste with the bokashi method.

Composting Cherry Pits Through Vermicomposting

Cherry pits can also be composted in a wormery. Because cherry pits take longer to decompose, they are ideal for bedding. This will save you time by relieving the stress of adding the bed regularly.

To compost cherry pits in a wormery, you need first to grind them like other composting methods and make a compost bed with the grounded cherry pits.

Vermicomposting of Cherry Pits

Here is a guide you need to follow while composing cherry seed through vermicomposting.

Step 1. Set Up your Worm Bin

Buy a worm bin or make it at your home by drilling holes around a medium-sized container. You need to cover a wire mesh to prevent the worms from migrating outside.

Now place the worm bin under your kitchen sink or in a shady place in your garden.

Step 2. Prepare the Bedding

Add shredded paper, yard waste, or dry leaves to make the bedding. Now add the crushed cherry pits evenly to the bedding and spread soil over it to give structure to the worm casting. Finally, water the bedding until it’s damp.

Step 3. Add Food Scraps

Add kitchen waste like eggshells, orange peels, banana peels, rotten fruits and vegetables, coffee grounds, tea bags, and grass clippings to your worm bin. Then cover the bin with cardboard or gunny bags and leave it to break down for 1-2 weeks.

Avoid adding meat, fish, oily and greasy food, or droppings from your pets, as these materials might ruin the compost.

Step 4. Add Worms

Now add some red wigglers to the bin. They will start feeding on the food scraps and microbes present in the worm bin and start leaving the castings after digestion. These castings, known as vermicompost or vermicast, are excellent for soil.

Step 5. Maintain your Bin

The worms need darkness, a moist environment, and a constant food supply. So make sure you provide them with everything according to their needs.

You can harvest your compost within 3-6 months. While harvesting, screen the cherry pits and throw them back to the worm bin if they haven’t broken down yet. However, using the vermicompost with some cherry pits will have no harmful effects. The cherry pits will decompose gradually in the soil as well.

Benefits of Composting Cherry Pits

Cherry pits, like their fruit, are a great source of nutrients and are good composting materials. Listed below are some benefits of composting cherry pits:

  • Cherry pits are nutritious and add Calcium, Magnesium, Potassium, Phosphorous, and Sodium to the soil and help in plant growth.
  • Cherry pits are a source of carbon and help provide structure to the compost.
  • Composting cherry pits is an eco-friendly method as they are biodegradable.
  • Compost made of cherry pits is a cheap source of fertilizer and adds organic material to the soil.

Additional Tips for Composting Cherry Pits

Composting cherry pits is the same as composting any other stone fruits like avocado, peach, plums, and olives. Here are a few measures you must take to compost cherry pits more effectively and efficiently.

  • Crush the cherry pits before adding them to the compost bin. This can be done by soaking them in water, boiling them, or grinding them in a food processor.
  • Add green materials to your compost bin to enrich the compost with Nitrogen and provide energy for microbes to grow and break down cherry pits faster.
  • Mix the compost pile regularly to generate heat for decomposition.
  • You can also use spoiled cherry fruit or other parts of the cherry tree in your compost heap.

Other Uses of Cherry Pits

Apart from being a carbon source in your compost heap, the cherry seed serves different purposes in your home and garden. Look into the list below to know other uses of cherry pits.

Juicy Cherries and Cherry Stones
  • Plant the cherry pit in your garden to grow a beautiful cherry tree in your backyard.
  • Make cherry pit syrup using this fruit pit.
  • You can make a heating pad from cherry pits.
  • Make cherry pit liqueur.
  • Make vinegar from cherry pits.
  • Use cherry pits as fuel in BBQ.
  • Add infused pits to the whipping cream.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long will cherry pits take to decompose? 

Cherry pits can take up to 10 years to decompose entirely if left on the ground. But with ideal composting conditions, cherry pits can degrade within a few months to years.

Can all stone fruit seeds go in the compost?

Yes, all the stone fruit pits can be composted as they are plant-based and decompose well in your compost bin. However, since seeds are hard materials, crush or grind them before adding them to your compost bin to aid the decomposition and prevent unwanted germination.

Can cherry pits sprout in your compost?

Yes, cherry pits may sprout in your compost if the pits are added as a whole. So it is advisable to break them using a food processor or grinder to prevent germination.

Do cherry pits contain cyanide?

Yes, cherry pits like apple seeds, apricot seeds, and peach pits contain amygdalin which is converted to hydrogen cyanide when it goes through metabolism.

Is it harmful to add cherry pits to the compost?

Cherry stones contain cyanide, but they are completely safe to compost. The chemical will not have any adverse effect on the finished compost as the microbes act actively to break the cherry seed.

Cherry pits being hard, are ignored for decades, but they serve a great purpose for your soil if they are composted correctly. So next time, whenever you eat those delicious red cherries, do not forget to compost their pits.

The international compost awareness week is live, and you might be admiring what other things can be composted. Well, you can turn most of the degradable materials into compost. If you want detailed guides on composting cardboard, pine needles, eggshells, pumpkins, or any other fruit and vegetable waste, you can find them here.