This ultimate guide will take you through simple steps and precautions to take care of composting lemons.
Can You Compost Lemons?
Composting lemons has long been thought to be a bad idea by well-intentioned gardeners and composting experts alike.
The delayed breakdown of peels, the fruit’s high acidity, and the presence of d-limonene, a chemical used in insecticides and cleaning goods, are all contributing factors.
When a large amount of citrus is thrown into the compost bin at once, these problems can arise. On the other hand, Lemon waste contributes to high-quality finished compost in a well-balanced system.
Adding citrus fruit to your compost pile has several essential benefits, even though citrus fruits are quite acidic and can change the pH of your compost.
Lemons and other citrus fruits have a strong odor that repels pests and animals. Citrus fruits’ chemical oils degrade pretty quickly, posing no hazard to beneficial insects.
Citrus fruit adds phosphate, nitrogen, and potassium to your compost as it decomposes, helping to improve the nutritional quality of your pile. Lemons and lemon peels should be included in your green compost pile.
Common Myths About Composting Lemons
Here are some common myths regarding composting lemons –
Lemons are acidic, but not to the point of harming your compost. Many acids (such as those found in citrus fruits) are neutralized as a compost pile decomposes. The pH of finished compost is usually between 6 and 8.
If you have a well-balanced compost, that is, a healthy combination of both “green” and “brown” compost materials, a spritz of citrus every now and again shouldn’t hurt.
Certain fungi thrive in a slightly acidic environment, which aids in decomposing cellulose and lignin.
Hard to break down
Lemon, a citrus rind, may break down more slowly than wilted lettuce due to its cellulose content. However, this should not prevent you from composting it.
Cut the peels into small pieces to speed up the decomposition process (good practice for any large chunks of compost materials, citrus or otherwise).
Possible chemical residue
Another issue with composting citrus fruits is that many of them are treated with pesticides and fungicides to extend their shelf life after transit.
On the other hand, many of these pesticides are easily eliminated by just washing fruits.
Washing fruits and vegetables for at least 30 seconds with regular tap water was enough to considerably reduce the levels of nine of the twelve pesticides studied.
How To Compost Lemons With Ease?
The secret to properly incorporating citrus fruits like lemons into a backyard compost is moderation. If you eat a lot of citrus fruits during the week, your compost pile may become overwhelmed, throwing off the balance of “greens” and “browns.”
Cutting lemon rinds – Break down your citrus scraps into tiny bits so that the microorganisms in your compost heap have more surface area to work on.
Balance the “wet” with “dry” – To keep your compost heap healthy, always balance the “wet” waste of your citrus fruits with an equivalent amount of a bulking agent like dry leaves.
Deal with the seeds – To prevent lemon seeds from growing, some individuals recommend removing them before putting them in your compost pile.
The temperature of hot composting piles should be high enough to harm seeds and prevent them from sprouting.
What If My Lemons Are Moldy?
Lemons scraps that have rotted are an excellent addition to your compost pile because they have already begun to decompose.
Another factor to consider is that a well-kept compost pile should be hot enough inside to destroy any mold spores on lemon in a short period of time.
Moldy lemons require particular caution because it is a highly wet waste material. Additional bulking agents, such as wood chips or shredded cardboard, will help to balance the moisture in your compost pile and maintain it in good shape.
Add moldy citrus scraps to the center of the pile on top of dry leaves to speed up the decomposition process. Grass or paper can be used to cover the scraps. The increased heat generated in the heap’s core will quickly decompose the rotten citrus oranges.
Benefits of Composting Lemons
Reasons why you should compost lemons –
Rich in Nitrogen – Lemons are classified as a “green” compost component in composting. Green materials are nitrogen-rich and are used to balance out carbon-intensive “brown” materials.
Nitrogen is a nutrient that aids the growth and reproduction of microbes and insects.
Detracts Pests – Lemons in addition to providing nitrogen and other minerals such as phosphorus and potassium, have a scent that deters pests from approaching your compost pile.
Many people enjoy the fresh, zesty scent of lemons, limes, and oranges, but many backyard animals do not.
Lemons And Vermicomposting
If you have a worm bin at home, citrus fruits like lemons should be avoided. Even though adding citrus fruits isn’t refused, you can’t treat it as a food scrap you want to provide to your worms on a regular basis.
Why? For one thing, many red wigglers appear to dislike lemon rinds. When the worms are unable to digest food scraps, they are left to rot, eventually resulting in a nasty, slimy mess.
Turning your compost on a regular basis is essential for aeration and mixing. Turning your compost at least twice a week will assist the decomposition process go more quickly.
If you’re working with (or trying to achieve) a hot compost, though, you can flip it as often as you like. Keep the compost pile moist as well—it should have the consistency of a damp sponge.
We hope this guide helped you know everything about composting lemons of different kinds and the best conditions for better decomposition.
If you have any queries regarding composting lemons, please write them down in the comments. Feel free to reach out to us if you have any other tips to add to our guide to make it even more informative!
Do share this with your friends and family to help them out in too!