Composting provides a number of benefits, reducing the amount of landfill waste your family produces while creating nutrient-rich organic material that helps flowers and other plants grow. A number of common foods and organic materials make good compost, including fruit peels. If your compost consists of fruit peels only, however, you may have to deal with fruit flies around your compost bin.
Compost is made by allowing organic material to break down naturally in a contained environment. As the organic material decomposes, the resulting compost material retains essential nutrients such as nitrogen and carbon that aid a plant's growth. The compost can be used in place of chemical fertilizers for organic gardening and may also be amended into garden soil to improve both its nutrient composition and its water retention.
There are several composting methods available that create high-quality compost. Open-air compost heaps and closed compost bins are both useful outdoors, and worm bins or other closed bins can be used indoors as well. The amount of time that it takes for compost to fully break down can range from a few months to up to two years, with the time frame depending on the amount of material being broken down, the amount of air the compost is exposed to, how moist it is, whether beneficial microorganisms are present and the overall temperature of the compost heap.
Fruit peels are typically rich in nitrogen, an essential element for plant growth and development. Chopping fruit peels into smaller pieces before placing them in a compost heap aids their breakdown, leading to slightly faster compost production. Other parts of the fruit can be added to compost as well, though you should check to make sure that you don't accidentally toss seeds into your compost since the seeds may sprout and begin growing in the compost heap.
Controlling Fruit Flies
Fruit flies are attracted to compost that has too high of a ratio of nitrogen to carbon. If fruit flies become a problem in your compost heap, the fruit peels you've placed in it may have created the imbalance. You can correct this by adding more "brown" material to the compost in the form of fallen leaves, cardboard or hay; you may need to add up to twice as much carbon-rich "brown" material to your compost as you do fruit peels or other nitrogen-rich "green" material. You can also trap fruit flies if necessary by placing a banana peel in an empty gallon jug and poking small holes around the top so that the flies can enter the jug but not escape.
- Photo Credit BananaStock/BananaStock/Getty Images