Potatoes have occupied a significant space in every kitchen and are loved by almost everyone. Its vital nutrients might become a great source of organic matter for your soil. But is it safe to use this compost for your plants? Can potato peels be added to your compost bin? So let us know about this further in this article.
Potato peels are compostable as they are rich in macro-nutrients like Nitrogen, Phosphorous, Potassium, Calcium, Magnesium, etc., and serve as organic fertilizer. However, potato peels that are rotten or contain brown patches might be infected with fungus, are harmful to soil, and should not be composted.
How To Compost Potato Peels?
Composting potato peels is easier and similar to composting other organic materials or food waste using common methods like regular composting, hot composting, etc.
If you already have a compost pile ready, you just need to wash your potatoes, add their skin to the compost bin and turn it in every few days. The remaining process will be carried out by the decomposers.
But, if you are starting your compost bin from scratch, here are the steps you need to follow, and you are good to go.
Step 1. Wash the potatoes
For composting potato peels, you first need to select fresh potatoes and wash them thoroughly before peeling.
The potato peels should be cut into smaller pieces to fasten the decomposition process.
Step 2. Add some Browns and Greens
Take a bin that is 3 feet deep. Now add some brown materials like wood chips, dry leaves, yard waste, paper, twigs, dried branches, etc. Brown materials are rich in carbon and serve as food materials for decomposers.
Now add some green materials over the browns. You might add food scraps, coffee and tea grounds, garden waste like weeds, grass clippings, etc. Make sure to add the potato peelings with green materials to the compost heap.
Greens are rich in Nitrogen, and they help in the growth of microbes, thus quickening the breakdown process.
Step 3. Repeat the layers
Repeat the layers of browns and greens until you are done with all the waste materials. Keep each layer 3 inches deep, water the layers, and keep filling the compost pile.
An ideal compost bin should contain greens and browns in a ratio of 1:3.
Step 4. Add water to your pile
Water your compost pile regularly and make sure it is sufficiently moist. However, do not overwater as excess water might rot your compost pile and make it smelly.
Step 5. Turn your composting pile
Turn the pile once every few weeks. Stirring the pile helps aerate the heap, decomposing the materials quickly and preventing bad odor. This also keeps your potato peels safe from causing blight as the heat generated in the compost pile would kill the fungal spores.
After 10-12 weeks of taking good care of your compost heap, you will be able to use the fresh and organic finished compost in your garden.
Can You Compost Potato Peels In a Worm Bin?
Potato peels absolutely can go to worm bins for vermicomposting, but the only concern is that it takes longer to compost.
This is due to the solanine present in potato peelings, making the process slower, as the worms eat the bacteria first and leave the peels to decompose and then start eating them.
So, if you want to add potato skin to your worm bin, it is best to put them in moderation. Moreover, cooked and mashed potato or boiled potato skins may have less amount of solanine, making them easier for the worms to act upon and hasten the decomposition process.
Benefits of Composting Potato Peels
Composting potato skin is a great idea to recycle the waste in your homes. This comes with multiple benefits. Here are a few listed below.
- Potato peel helps add vital nutrients like Nitrogen, Phosphorous, Potassium, Magnesium, and Calcium to your compost pile.
- The compost made of potato peels would become a good source of organic nutrients to the plants.
- Potato peels are biodegradable and can be decomposed easily; thus, they are environmentally friendly.
- Composting potato waste at home is easy and does not need any scientific knowledge.
- It is cost-effective and saves you from buying costly fertilizer.
Additional Tips For Composting Potato Peels
Potatoes are highly susceptible to a fungal disease called Potato Blight, and composting infected potato peelings may encourage fungal growth. Using this compost might destroy your garden, especially tomato and potato crops.
So, here are some tips you need to follow before composting potato peels:
- To avoid the development of spores, store the potatoes in dark, cool places.
- Do not add the peels from rotten potatoes.
- Bury the potato peel deep inside the compost heap to prevent sprouting. (Remember, blight spores can survive only on living plant material)
- You can also use cooked potato skin for composting. Cooked peels will not sprout and also decompose quickly.
- You can make liquid fertilizer from raw potato peels and reuse these peels for composting.
How To Make Potato Peel Fertilizer?
As the potatoes are loaded with nutrients, you can also use the potato peels to make liquid fertilizer.
Here are the steps you need to follow to make the liquid fertilizer:
- Collect the potato peels and cut them into small pieces.
- Take a container and add the potato peel chips to it.
- Add some water to the container.
- Close the lid tightly and leave it for 3-4 days.
- Strain the water, and you can use the peels again for composting.
- Fill this liquid fertilizer in a spray bottle, and use it in your garden to boost the growth of your plants.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Is potato skin good for the soil?
Potato skin is excellent for soil health as it is packed with Nitrogen, Phosphorous, and Potassium, thus adding essential nutrients to the soil organically. These nutrients make the soil fertile and fit for growing crops.
How long do potato peels take to compost?
Potato peels generally take 10-12 weeks to turn into fine soil, which will be fit for use as compost in your garden. However, 75-80 % of the decomposition will be done within 5-6 weeks of making the compost pit.
How do you keep potatoes from sprouting in compost?
Potatoes store heat within them. Burying them deep down the compost pile generates excess heat and prevents them from sprouting in the compost pit.
How to identify potatoes infected with Blight?
The infected potato tubers contain dark patches and eventually start rotting from the skin to the center. So, while composting, use the potato peels which do not have any brown patches and are not rotten.
Can we use a whole potato for composting?
Adding a whole potato or large chunks of potato may become the reason for sprouting. This might encourage the growth of Blight spores as the fungus survives on living plant material. Moreover, adding a whole potato makes the decomposition slower. So it is not ideal to use a whole potato for composting.
Can you compost potatoes infested with Blight?
Potatoes infected with blight should not be used for composting. It would encourage the fungus to grow and spread in your compost bin. Moreover, if used in the garden, this infected compost would harm your plants as the soil would not be fit for growing crops, especially potato and tomato, for 4-5 years.
Well, now you know that potato peels can be easily composted and are actually great for the soil. So, next time, when you are cooking potatoes, do not throw off the peels in the garbage. Instead, put them in your compost bin and make nutrient-rich compost for your soil.
Similarly, if you love oranges and want to know if you can compost orange peels or not, here is everything you need to know.