Can You Compost Potato Peels? (And How Long it Takes?)

The benefits of potatoes are numerous. This versatile food is packed with nutrients, has ample antioxidants, regulates blood sugar levels, and improves your digestive health, to name a few. So, it’s little wonder potatoes are the world population’s third most important food crop.

Potatoes have such exciting statistics, but we’re not here for that. Instead, let’s consider what you can do with your potato peels. Many people believe composting them is a bad idea. But again, why do they think that when this food crop is loaded with nutrients – it contains phosphorus, potassium, and nitrogen, among many others?

If you’re unsure about what the reality is, then keep reading. Throwing away a regular batch of potatoes peels can feel wasteful, so what’s the proper way to dispose of them? In this blog post, we’ll demystify the trending internet belief about composting potato peels. You’ll also discover how to compost cooked potatoes, so stay right there!

Can You Put Potato Peels in Compost?

Any green thumb will painstakingly explain the purpose of composting and how invaluable it is to our plants. It’s a source of vital bacteria that earthworms and other beneficial organisms find attractive. Compost is made of anything that biodegrades and contains nutrients, of course.

The nutrients in a good compost pile strengthen the plants and soil and improve growth. It also supplies vital substances like magnesium, potassium, and nitrogen.

So, your kitchen waste like fruit and vegetables, coffee grounds, tea leaves, stale bread, and eggshells, among many others. You’d notice there was no mention of items like dairy products, pastries and confectionaries, and aromatic waste?

That’s because the smell attracts rodents, and you certainly won’t like the outcome of their visit to your compost pile.

Now, does potato peelings fall into this category? The immediate answer is yes! You can put potato peelings in the compost. However, the caveat is the conventional fungus growth that potatoes are associated with. It causes potato blight, which eats up the potato from the inside.

Potato blight doesn’t leave out the tubers either – they also rot. The Great Potato Famine began in 1845. It occurred in Ireland, ruining half of the potato crops in the first year and more than three-quarters in the next several years!

This is a possibility when you compost potato peels that are already affected. It’s caused by a microorganism that proliferates seamlessly. Potato blight is so contagious that it can affect the future growth of potatoes. Because tomatoes share a family with potatoes, they can contract the infection.

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But again, there’s no organic matter that you cannot compost, so there’s a way around this. It’s straightforward – avoid composting potato peels that exhibit the signs of potato blight.

Ensure you practice proper composting techniques like keeping the pile moist, shredding materials for faster decomposition, and turning the materials once in a few days to ensure a balanced process.

Concerning composting potatoes, ensure they’re buried within the pile to prevent the peels from growing.

How Long Do Potato Peels Take to Compost?

Decomposition is a natural process all organic matter cannot escape. Although the breakdown period varies, biodegradation occurs when the right components are present. These include moisture, aeration, oxygen, and adequate heat.

Although biodegradable materials in the compost pile decompose fast, it occurs at different rates. So, when you introduce potato peels into the equation, you’d naturally wonder how long its decomposition process would be.

It’s usually 3 to 6 months in the right conditions. What are they? Well, first, there must be moisture in the compost pile. Coupled with helpful microbes, adequate heat, and oxygen, you’ll barely be able to recognize the peelings in a few months.

You can speed up the biodegradation process by shredding the peels into smaller pieces. That way, the microbes will break them down faster.

Although burying the peelings deep within the compost pile is excellent for keeping it from sprouting leaves, this technique also ensures it’s at the center of the heat. It also receives sufficient moisture and oxygen, so it’ll break down even faster.

Finally, turn the compost pile once weekly for circulated decomposition. Potatoes peelings will particularly benefit from this!

How to Compost Potato Peels?

Compost materials are vital for plant growth. Of course, store-bought fertilizers will provide the nutrients the plants and soil need, but nothing compares to pure, organic matter.

It’s also one of your safest options because some store-bought organic fertilizers contain inorganic substances like chemicals. Although they claim to boost plant growth, the side effects outweigh the advantages.

The benefits of composting your potato peels instead of throwing them away are abundant. After improving our digestive systems, immunity, and metabolism, the peels of the potatoes can provide many nutrients to plants.

So, you can compost the peels, but the condition we mentioned earlier is still in question. It’s an infection you shouldn’t take lightly, which explains why most people believe you shouldn’t compost them.

The spore-borne disease swiftly reproduces its whitish, downy growth through the potatoes, where it can also be washed into the soil, affecting the tubers. Spores destroy the soil and other crops in it. The virus is so strong that you’re advised to wait four years before utilizing it again.

Spores can also survive harsh weather. So, be incredibly conscious while composting potato peelings. Store-bought potatoes can also be carriers of deadly fungus, not just homegrown ones.

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Now, composting potato peels is a seamless process once you identify what potato blight looks like. They should be buried deep within the pile to prevent sprouting. This will also give it adequate access to heat and moisture because it’s located around the pile’s center.

It’s also best to balance the components in your compost pile. There should be a controlled amount of oxygen, moisture, heat, greens, and browns. As mentioned earlier, some of your green options include clippings from your lawn, vegetable kitchen waste, tea grounds, and even weeds.

Green thumbs recommend that you keep your compost pile moist always. It’s also vital to aerate when composting it in the bin. The controlled oxygen is indispensable to activate the decomposition process, and there are many ways you can seamlessly control this.

When you stir it daily, it introduces ample aeration.

On the other hand, if it’s in a compost pile, stirring regularly for aeration isn’t vital, but it certainly increases microbial activity in the soil.

Finally, sufficient dry matter is essential and should be thrice as much as your food scraps.

Are Potato Peels Good for Plants?

You can improve the nutritional goodness of your indoor and outdoor plants with potato peelings. The peels contain nitrogen, phosphorus, magnesium, and potassium. The peels are even more fortified with nutrients than potatoes themselves, so why would anyone throw them out?

Nitrogen is a vital component of life growth. It’s an indispensable part of the chlorophyll molecule, responsible for giving plants their green color. When it’s insufficient in a plant, its telling sign is yellowing around the leaves. The lack of this material is constant, so yellowing progresses over time.

Another reason that makes nitrogen indispensable is its role in plant protoplasm, the living matter in plant cells. It’s responsible for the quality of fruits, differentiation of flowers, accelerated shoot growth, among many others.

Another vital material potato peels provide is phosphorus; without it, photosynthesis is impossible. That’s why it’s one of the three primary macronutrients for plants.

It plays a massive role in building nucleic acids, enzymes, and protein facilitates root growth, improves stems and stalks, and accelerates maturity. Adding potato peels to your compost materials can help replenish the lost phosphorus of your crops.

Potassium is a third of the trio, playing an equally significant role. It manages water for plants during drought. When there’s a deficiency of this substance in the soil, the telling signs are usually stunted plant growth, especially for fruits and vegetables.

Gardeners rely on potash for healthy plant growth, especially those rich in carbohydrates. If you notice curling at your leaves’ tips, a potassium deficit is a probable cause. The appearance of purple spots under the leaves further solidifies it.

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Magnesium is another abundant nutrient in potato peelings. Its primary role is to activate the enzymes that plants require for growth. It also facilitates photosynthesis and plays a significant role in forming chlorophyll.

Plants with sufficient magnesium have more robust cell walls, which accelerates germination. It’s available in a soluble and insoluble form, but you don’t need to worry about the classes because you’re relying on potato peelings to supply them.

A deficiency of this nutrient in plants can negatively affect your plants. For instance, interveinal chlorosis is a condition where the leaves of a plant turn yellow, but the veins retain their green color. Coincidentally, this condition also affects potatoes.

Black and brown spots may also appear on the leaves, indicating a severe magnesium deficiency. Sometimes, the plant wilts or droops, much like it’s napping.

Plants with a magnesium deficiency

Can Cooked Potatoes Be Composted? 

You’ll undoubtedly love your first attempt at composting. It’s not just an environmentally aware method of waste disposal but also a way to provide nutrients to plants and the soil.

Composting is pretty straightforward, too – waste materials from the household that qualifies as organic matter are welcome.

Perhaps potatoes are even more revered because of the versatility of their meals. You can make chips, mashed potatoes, roast potatoes, French fries, shepherd’s pie, etc.

So, the cooked potato will inevitably be a part of your kitchen waste. Now, while composting is an excellent solution to environmentally friendly waste disposal, some organic matter requires special conditions to be composted.

For instance, they may appeal to rodents because of their aroma. When this happens, pests can trample your compost pile, searching for the food source. Luckily, you can create a compost pile that keeps rodents out.

Cooked potatoes are organic matter; hence, that leftover batch you want to dispose of can serve your plants too. They’re suitable compost material, requiring little to no additional processes – simply toss them in! However, ensure it’s somewhere in the center of your compost bin.

Magnesium, hydrogen, phosphorus, and potassium are all nutrients; cooked potatoes also supply the soil and plants.

Conclusion

Potatoes offer us a variety of meals, ample nutrients, and are easy to cook. So, it’s little wonder that we consume a significant portion of them yearly.

However, potato blight is a dangerous disease that affects potatoes. Therefore, farmers must be cautious – whether you’re composting the peelings or uncut potato, scrutinize it for the signs of this contagious plant infection.

This blog post has explored ample information about composting potatoes, and we hope you make informed decisions going further.

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About Rinkesh

A true environmentalist by heart ❤️. Founded Conserve Energy Future with the sole motto of providing helpful information related to our rapidly depleting environment. Unless you strongly believe in Elon Musk‘s idea of making Mars as another habitable planet, do remember that there really is no 'Planet B' in this whole universe.