This post was most recently updated on March 26th, 2020
Oranges are one of my favourite fruits! There is nothing quite like eating a fresh, juicy orange, but what do you do with the leftover peels? The chickens and goats don’t like to eat them, so what does a girl do?
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Below are 10 ways to use orange peels in the garden that I have used over the years. I trust you will find this useful for your own garden.
Are citrus peels good for your garden?
There are a lot of benefits to using orange peels in the garden. They are non toxic and renewable as well as being a waste product. They add nutrients to the soil and keep pests away.
What can I use orange peels for in the garden?
Orange peels and other citrus peels have many uses in the garden and outdoors. Read on to find out more.
10 Brilliant Ways to Use Orange Peels in the Garden
1. In the compost – Are orange peels good for compost?
All citrus peels including oranges and lemons can be composted. Citrus is an excellent source of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. Adding them to compost is a great way to make it nutritious.
Orange peels are considered “greens” when composting and need to be mixed with some dry carbonaceous material to form humus.
When composting citrus you want to make sure to keep the pile warm to hot! If you are using organic citrus it’s possible that you can end up with moldy fruit and this mold will likely be in the penicillium family- from whence the antibiotic penicillin originated.
You want biotics in the compost pile and not antibiotics as this will cause some of the life forms to die off. Penicillium does not like warmth so keep it hot by adding plenty of carbon, and then high nitrogen items like chicken poop and coffee grounds.
As an added bonus, citrus peels also protects compost from scavengers and some pests as many of them dislike the smell.
Warning: if you are doing vermiculture and have a worm bin you definitely do not want to throw citrus in there as it harms the red wrigglers.
2. Repelling or removing pests in the garden
Orange peels contain a chemical called d-Limonene which is an all-natural insecticide. It damages the nervous systems of pests such as aphids and ants, killing them.
You can place peels around plants that have pest problems or you can make a spray.
Make your own spray by boiling a half a cup of peels in water for ten minutes then straining out the peels. Add this liquid to a spray bottle and spray your plants once a week.
You won’t have to worry about causing any damage to the plants themselves. D-Limonene is used as the active ingredient in many environmentally friendly bug sprays.
What do orange peels repel?
Ants, aphids, whiteflies, slugs or any other soft-body garden pests are all deterred or killed by this spray.
3. Keeping out Cats and Dogs
Bugs aren’t the only things that don’t like the smell of citrus. Shred up your peels and sprinkle them on the top of the garden or containers that you don’t want your dog or cats going near.
4. Keep away sand flies and mosquitoes
You can use the plant bug repellent recipe above to spray on yourself to keep away the sandflies and mosquitoes while you are working in the garden.
You can rub fresh skins on your arms, or leave them around your patio to keep them away as well.
5. Fertilizer – Do orange peels make good fertilizer?
Orange peels and other citrus peels are high in nitrogen and other nutrients and can give your leafy plants a quick boost. Cut them up finely and sprinkle them on the top of the soil, then work them in to the top couple of inches.
6. Light the fire pit
Orange peels make a great fire starter! Dry the peels until they are crispy – either in the sun, a slow oven or dehydrator and store them in an airtight jar.
Add a handful to the fire and light it, the oils are flammable and should catch light easily. As a bonus then citrus smoke helps keep those mozzies away.
7. Keep off the ticks
Like many other animals, ticks don’t like the smell of orange peels. Either make a spray as above and spray your clothes and pets to keep the ticks off. Or you can sprinkle the orange peels around to repel the ticks from your garden.
8. Catch slugs
My Grandma taught me this one. Place orange peels upside down on the top of the soil in the garden for a few days. The slugs will use it as a hiding spot as they are moist and dark.
Then all you have to do is go and pick them up and throw them to the chickens or put them in a bowl of boiling water.
9. Seedling pots
Citrus peel halves make great little seedling pots – cut the very bottom off so it sits flat, fill them with seed raising mix and place them in a sunny spot. When it is time to transplant, you can bury the whole thing, peel included.
10. Acidify the soil
Leftover lemon and orange peels can be used to acidify the soil for plants like azaleas. Just dry the citrus peels and grind them into a powder.
Sprinkle this on the top of the soil and mix it in the first inch or so. It is a great and all natural way to increase the acidity of the soil. The amount of pH change depends on the amount of citrus peel powder you use.
Don’t throw those orange peels away! Find a use for them in your garden. Do you have any ways you like to use citrus peels in the garden?
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