Gardens

Using vegetable peels as fertilizer – a natural way to nourish your plants

Using vegetable peels as fertilizer is an organic way to improve your plants' health and cut down on food waste

vegetable peels as fertilizer
(Image credit: GettyImages)

Using vegetable peels as fertilizer is a tried-and-tested method that we love. From celery and broccoli to the humble potato, these foods are famed for their healthy relationship to the human body. Experts have revealed that these pieces of organic goodness are just as impactful in the garden, where you can use your offcuts and leftover vegetables as a fertilizer – to boost your plant growth the natural way. 

While this garden idea may sound surprising, the steps behind its success are refreshingly simple – and you will reap the benefits throughout the season ahead. This is how to use vegetable peels as fertilizer, the expert way. 

Using vegetable peels as fertilizer – liquid method

Vegetable peel

(Image credit: GettyImages)

There are two main ways to use your vegetable peels as fertilizer – the first involves creating a mixture using your peels and water. According to garden expert and the founder of Urban Organic Yield (opens in new tab), Lindsey Hyland, this method comes with a host of benefits, including a 'high level of nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus – all nutrients that plants need to thrive.' 

Begin by collecting your vegetable peels and placing them in a container. Then pour water over the top of the leftovers until they are covered and leave them to soak for at least 24 hours. Then you should pour the mixture through a strainer (to remove the peels) before adding the remaining liquid to your garden beds or potted plants.

'Using vegetable peel as fertilizer, or banana peels as fertilizer can help to improve the structure of your soil and increase its ability to retain moisture,' Lindsey adds. 'And, if you want to regain control of your garden, using orange peels to deter pest will help tremendously.'

Vegetable peel

(Image credit: GettyImages)

This method is also recommended by the founder of Hello Gardening (opens in new tab), Michael Alves, who adds that this technique will drench your plants in 'micronutrients' and prevent you from having to invest in commercial fertilizer. This is the kitchen garden idea that may change how you plant for good. 

Using vegetable peels as fertilizer – trench method

Vegetable peel

(Image credit: GettyImages)

Another way to use vegetable peels as fertilizer is through a planting method – approved by Kelsey Lorencz, a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist at Graciously Green Eats (opens in new tab)

'Vegetable peels and scraps break down and add nutrients like vitamin C… and calcium to the soil, which makes them ideal for composting. If you don't have a composting system, you can still reap the benefits of using vegetable peels in your garden to fertilize your plants and cut down on food waste,' Kelsey says. 

You begin by digging a trench that is 8-12 inches deep in your garden before filling the trench with your vegetable peels and scraps. 'The smaller they are, the more quickly they will decompose to add nutrients to the soil,' the nutritionist explains. 

Vegetable peel

(Image credit: GettyImages)

Then cover the scraps with at least 6 inches of soil (to prevent pests from finding and digging them out). 'To avoid having to dig and fill as often, keep a bag in your freezer filled with vegetable peels and scraps and add them to the garden weekly or when it's full,' Kelsey adds.

When your kitchen ideas meet your garden, it's a match made in plant heaven.

Megan Slack
News Editor

Megan is the News and Trends Editor at Homes & Gardens. She first joined Future Plc as a News Writer across their interiors titles, including Livingetc and Real Homes. As the News Editor, she often focuses on emerging microtrends, sleep and wellbeing stories, and celebrity-focused pieces. Before joining Future, Megan worked as a News Explainer at The Telegraph, following her MA in International Journalism at the University of Leeds. During her BA in English Literature and Creative Writing, she gained writing experience in the US while studying in New York. Megan also focused on travel writing during her time living in Paris, where she produced content for a French travel site. She currently lives in London with her antique typewriter and an expansive collection of houseplants.