Can Peanut Shells Be Used for Compost?

Save

Peanuts (Arachis hypogaea) are edible, annual legumes that are used to make cooking oil, which can be found in foods such as packaged baked goods and salad dressings. Many people also enjoy eating peanuts roasted in the shell, and although the shells are edible too, they are usually discarded. Instead of wasting those shells, put them to use in your garden by adding them to your compost pile.

Peanuts Make for Good Compost

  • Putting peanut shells in your compost pile keeps them out of the landfill, and they add carbon to your compost. Carbon is an energy source that nourishes microorganisms that break down compost materials, according to Washington State University. When there's not enough carbon in your compost pile, the materials in your heap won't break down as quickly, which can cause the microorganisms to die.

It Takes Awhile, Though

  • One drawback of putting peanut shells in your compost is that they break down slowly. That's thanks to their tightly intertwined cellulose tissues, according to Barbara Pleasant and Deborah L. Martin, authors of "The Complete Compost Gardening Guide." In fact, you might see peanut shells that you added to your compost pile in the spring still hanging around in the fall. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, however, because they will break down eventually and they do supply organic matter to the rest of your compost, Pleasant and Martin note.

How to Compost Those Shells

  • Salted peanuts pose a problem when it comes to your compost. Too much salt will poison the microorganisms in your compost pile, Pleasant and Martin report. Before adding the peanut shells to the compost, rinse them thoroughly to wash the salt off the shells, Kelly Smith recommends in her book "How to Build, Maintain, and Use a Compost System." Soaking them will also help them decompose more quickly.

It Might Be a Bad Idea, However

  • Though peanut shells can provide valuable nutrients to your compost heap, they can harbor fungal diseases and nematodes, which are pests that eat the roots of your plants, according to the University of Florida. If the shells are infected when you add them to your compost pile, the infection could be transferred to your plants when you layer the compost around them.

References

  • Photo Credit tanjichica7/iStock/Getty Images
Promoted By Zergnet

Comments

You May Also Like

  • Uses of Macadamia Nut Shells

    The macadamia nut is native to Australia. The trees were first introduced to America in the early 20th century when farmers began...

  • How to Compost With Egg Shells

    Egg shells are 93 percent calcium carbonate, according to "Backwoods Home" magazine, and contain other elements like nitrogen that are beneficial to...

  • How to Shell Peanuts

    Peanut shells can be difficult to open if you use the wrong kind of opening process. If you try to open the...

  • Can You Fertilize With Peanut Shells?

    Plants need a delicate balance of nutrients in the soil to thrive. When a soil is deficient in any one of the...

  • Can Eggshells Go in a Compost Pile?

    Eggshells break down completely, so you can technically compost them. It may not be the right choice for everyone, especially if you...

  • Can You Compost Nuts?

    Anything from something that was once alive -- including nuts -- can be composted. It's a matter of how you compost, how...

  • Uses of Peanut Shells

    If you love peanuts but have always thrown away the shells, you've been wasting a valuable resource. Peanut shells are used in...

Related Searches

Check It Out

How to Make a Vertical Clay Pot Garden

M
Is DIY in your DNA? Become part of our maker community.
Submit Your Work!