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Food scraps for the garden
January 2023
Reading time 10 minutes

With food prices on the rise and many stretching budgets to buy the essentials, those looking to reduce food waste should make the most of their leftovers

Here are seven zero-waste gardening tips, including using banana peels, nut shells and spicy peppers.

Reducing food waste is more important now than ever, which is why the experts at Garden Buildings Direct are sharing their favourite recycling hacks for helping plants and crops with leftovers. 

Re-using food and leftover waste is not only restricted to composting, which requires time, effort and can be a learning curve for many. There are lots of other efficient ways to utilise food scraps and encourage a thriving garden at the same time.

Top tips include sprinkling nut shells over flower beds, using spicy pepper scraps to deter pests and using banana peels to add nutrients to your crops. 

A spokesperson for Garden Buildings Direct says: ‘Many shy away from composting, as it can be a long process with no instant gratification. This is why we wanted to share some of our top hacks for keeping leftovers or remains from your meals and snacks and using them to care and help your garden. 

‘Some scraps can help deter pests and insects, while others stop weed growth and encourage lush foliage for your plants. It can be as simple as saving your pasta water and using it to refresh your favourite plants, or crushing up eggshells and scattering through your flower beds!’

Read more: How to Keep Your Grass Green in the Colder Months

Here are their seven useful tips:

1. Eggshells
Crushed eggshells can work as a fertiliser in your garden. The extra dose of calcium can prevent your crops from succumbing to blossom-end rot, while the shells deter pests like slugs and snails off your favourite plants. Just crush up any unused eggshells and sprinkle throughout your garden.

2. Spicy peppers
Save super spicy scraps for keeping pests away from your garden crops. Chilli peppers are a natural insecticide and can even help to improve the flavour of your crops when used in moderation.

3. Orange peels 
Leftover orange peels? These can be distributed throughout the garden as a natural pest deterrent, as the smell deters many insects. Scatter the peels along the bottom of your plants to keep pesky fleas, ants, mosquitos and flies at bay.

4. Pasta water
Any cooking water used to make meals for you and the family can be reused in your garden. Simply save any water used from boiling pasta, rice, boiling eggs or blanching veggies and let it cool before giving all of your indoor and outdoor plants a good water. The starchy water will add nutrients while prompting their release from the soil.

5. Coffee grounds
The leftovers in your coffee machine might just be the best way to add new life into your garden. The grounds contain helpful nutrients, including lots of nitrogen. Mix your coffee grounds into the soil of your favourite flower beds and pots for an easy, eco-friendly fertiliser.

6. Nut shells
Instead of disposing of nut shells, crush them up and sprinkle a layer over your plant beds to prevent weeds from peaking through. Mixing the shells into the soil will also help to aerate overly compact soil.

7. Banana peels
The potassium found in bananas is not only great for our nutritional needs, but can also be beneficial for your garden. The nutrient can help your plant to fight diseases while producing more fruit or blossoms. Place them directly onto the soil and let them mulch!

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