Oranges in compost bin?

flopsyFebruary 5, 2008

I've heard that you should not put orange peels, or at leave very few, in a compost bin. What do y'all think? Anyone put an orange peel a day in their bin? I eat an orange for breakfast each morning. Sure would hate to waste that peel. Thanks!

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lhafken(maryland)

You can put it in, but it will take forever to break down.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2008 at 6:27PM
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renais(nm)

I find that the oranges breakdown fairly well in both regular compost piles, and in worm bins. We probably average quite a bit more than one orange a day, and don't see any problems, either with uncomposted material, or with harm to the worms.
Renais

    Bookmark   February 5, 2008 at 8:41PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

The objection to citrus fruit in compost usually centers around all the citrus oil in the peels but assuming the compost bin is fairly well balanced in size and composition they never cause a problem for me - we add at least 1 grapefruit daily.

That is unless you are talking about a crate full of them all at once. ;) If you can chop or tear them up a bit they break down faster.

Dave

    Bookmark   February 5, 2008 at 8:59PM
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buffburd(z5 NY)

No worries, I've put whole oranges that went bad, whole apples, etc, they all disappear in time.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2008 at 10:25PM
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swanz(z5NH)

I put lots of citrus in mine. They break down no problem.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2008 at 3:25AM
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shellva(Camden 7b/8a)

I've never had any problems with citrus pealings disappearing in my compost either. Rotting whole fruits have quickly been digested by the pile as well.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2008 at 4:16PM
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jannoel_gw(z5b IL)

They disappear about at the same rate as other fruit/vegetables. Now lime peels are a different story. They turn leathery but time takes care of even them.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2008 at 6:50PM
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grayentropy

Same here. We had a small crate (~30) tangerenes go bad and we threw the whole thing (not mashed or chopped) into our daily compost waste. After adding to the pile, the tangerenese were all white in about a week and decomposed with the other kitchen wastes at the same rate.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2008 at 8:51PM
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newcomposter

On the topic of citrus peels . . . During the winter (well, we call it winter in AZ, anyway), I've been adding about two grapefruit peels a day. Other than some leaves, I may only add a banana peel and an apple core daily. Are my additions, particularly the grapefruit peels, likely to throw my bin out of balance?

    Bookmark   February 7, 2008 at 1:54AM
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whip1 Zone 5 NE Ohio

Newcomposter, you'll be fine. As a begginer, avoid any fatty products like milk and meat. All plant material is fine.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2008 at 12:00PM
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dahlitsa

I learned from raising worms that if you are going to add oranges or anything thats highly acidic that you should add crushed egg shells to counteract it. I have done this and have had no problem.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2008 at 4:39PM
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led_zep_rules(5 WI)

I do composting of old produce from a local weekend market so I often put large quantities of citrus fruits into my compost. NEver noticed any problem with it at all. I have in fact used old grapefruit as a layer in a lasagna bed. I always have a lot of worms and my plants grow well so I can't see there is a problem as long as that isn't the ONLY thing you compost. I also stockpile other people's bags of leaves so that I always have some browns to mix in with whatever greens I have.

Marcia

    Bookmark   February 9, 2008 at 2:58AM
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newcomposter

I dug around in my bin today to see if anything was happening. The grapefruit that I regularly add were noticeably absent. I ended up finding some but they were mostly goo. I suppose that's a good sign. For me, they seem to break down far faster than anything else, including orange peels or even leaves.

I have been adding 1-2 egg shells each week, as dahlitsa mentioned.

    Bookmark   February 14, 2008 at 5:42PM
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