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What's In the Banana Peel for Making Compost?

Banana "Apeel"

Why Put the Banana Peel in the Countertop Compost Pail?
bamboo countertop pail
Many of us eat bananas but few of us eat the banana peel. So what is in a banana peel and why put it in the kitchen countertop compost collector?

A banana peel is absolutely loaded with minerals both macro minerals and trace minerals. The macro minerals include calcium, phosphorus, sodium ,chlorine, potassium, magnesium and sulfur. Each of these minerals are essential for various plant functions. Plants draw nutrients from the soil. Thus what goes into soil goes into plants.
There are 13 mineral nutrients in the soil which when dissolved in water are absorbed through plant roots. When the soil does not have enough nutrients for a healthy plant to grow we add fertilizer. In this example, the banana peel decomposes into natural fertilizer in the form of humus or compost made from waste which otherwise would be in the landfill. The texture of soil is one factor determining how well nutrients and water are retained in soil. Rich loamy humus made from composting and added to soil increases the desirable texture of the soil and because of this reduces leaching of nutrients.

The first and most well known element also referred to as a mineral contained in the banana peel is potassium. Potassium is needed for energy. The amount of potassium contained in a banana is high enough for bananas to be recommended as an energy boost. Because the peel also contains potassium it could be said the peel can give compost a pick me up. The peel contains calcium known in people to help build strong bones. In plants it is used by the cell wall which give the plant support. Magnesium is an element utilized by chlorophyll the substance which gives plants the green color. Phosphorus enables energy transfer such as that needed for photosynthesis and it is a component of DNA. About three quarters of the phosphorus used in United States in all forms goes to fertilizer. It is always in combination such as phosphate never found just as the element itself. The banana peel does not contain significant amounts of sulfur. Beginning to see the A Peel of the banana peel to making compost?

The banana peel also contains these familiar micro or trace elements iron, zinc, copper, manganese, and selenium. Boron, chlorine, molybdenum, are also trace elements but not found in the banana peel. Boron is needed for seed and fruit development. Copper for root metabolism and use of proteins. Formation of chlorophyll requires iron. Manganese facilitates the breakdown of carbohydrates and nitrogen metabolism. Molybdenum allows the use of nitrogen, found in all proteins and zinc encourages transformation of carbohydrates or plant growth.

Although most of us do not eat the banana peeling we could. It contains nutrients essential for growth and maintenance of body functions. These very same elements are required by plants. Plants absorb nutrients from the soil through the root system. Thus making the banana very appealing for addition to counter top compost bins for making nutrient rich naturally fertilized soil.

Author: Patricia Bass

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