Saturday Series - Organic Amendments, Fact Or Fiction?

Saturday, January 21, 2018
Eggshells, Coffee Grounds, and Banana Peels

To use or not to use? Do eggshells, coffee grounds and banana peels belong in your rose garden? That is the question!

The use of homemade fertilizers and composts have been known to produce mixed results. Many gardeners swear by these simple concoctions, while others dismiss these remedies as a hoax. There is a rich tradition of using these commonly found items to produce beautiful blooms, and many gardeners were introduced to the idea by their parents and grandparents. However, the question remains. Are egg shells, coffee grounds, and banana peels a fictitious solution passed down through folklore and urban legend or a valuable, scientifically proven medium providing roses with essential nutrients?

Here are the facts. Coffee grounds are a natural source of nitrogen, an essential nutrient which promotes strong foliage growth. Additionally, coffee grounds are an excellent way to lower the Ph of your soil if you struggle with an alkaline soil type. Roses prefer slightly acidic soil conditions between 6.5-7 on the Ph scale. One of the most effective ways to get the coffee grounds into the soil is by watering your rose with water steeped in the grounds, rather than sprinkling them around the base of the plant as this promotes faster uptake of the nitrogen. Another essential nutrient for roses is potassium. Potassium boosts a rose’s immune system, giving it additional protection against disease and insect damage. It also helps the plant survive damaging climate situations such as drought and frost. Plants that do not get enough potassium will have weak stems, underdeveloped buds and yellow leaves with brown edges. Banana peels are known for their high potassium content and make a cheap, easy and effective natural fertilizer. Egg shells are another source of an essential nutrient, calcium. When blended into a powder, or introduced through compost, eggshells introduce calcium to the soil, which strengthens the cell walls, increases flower production and leads to more vibrant blooms and foliage.

The answer to our question lies in the nutrients. As much as we rely on essential vitamins and minerals to keep our own bodies healthy, roses rely on nitrogen, potassium and calcium to grow and bloom. While there will always be skeptics, natural solutions such as coffee grounds, eggshells and banana peels offer an excellent alternative to traditional sources of these elements. As you build your compost piles and build up your soil consider these natural alternatives, which cost little to nothing and reduce household waste in the process.