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Tomato plants ‘thrive’ with 14p kitchen scrap item – and it

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Garden plants are given a boost when they are fertilised as this improves growth rates and increases yields.

Instead of purchasing expensive chemical fertilisers, kitchen food scraps can be used – one of which is banana peels. 

Left with a few overripe bananas, one gardening enthusiast took to the Loving Your Garden Facebook page to ask what plants that can fertilise it with.

Helen Conan wrote: “I have some over-ripe bananas and heard they are good for some plants. Any advice please?”

For those interested in using natural fertilisers for their garden, then banana skins are a good starting point. 

This is because they contain potassium to help encourage big blooms and yields, phosphorus for roots and shoots and magnesium to help photosynthesis.

Group members suggested a number of plants to use banana peels on, but the two most common suggestions were tomato plants and roses.

Patricia Wilde replied: “I put my banana skins round the bottom of my rose bushes.”

Angie Tinnion said: “I always chop up the skins finely and dig them in around my roses – along with my coffee grounds.”

Caroline Woods claimed: “Roses absolutely adore banana peels. They get to work pretty quickly.” 

Wendy Fields said: “I put chopped up banana skins around the bottom of one of my tomato plants as a trial this year and it had huge bright red fruit, so now I have chopped a load more up and put them around all my tomato plants.”

John Dean wrote: “You can use them under tomato plants chopped up or whole to make them thrive.”

Susan Cole commented: “If you want to use them to fertilise plants, use them on tomato plants chopped up. It’s fantastic.

“But if you want to use them to keep pests away, blend the skins and put them in the soil around the plant. I found that it works amazingly to repel cats from my garden.”

If gardeners put a banana peel near a cat, it will approach it, but when it smells it, the cat will get scared and run away as the peel emits the smell of certain chemicals that cats dislike.

As a banana ripens, it emits ethene or ethyl acetate. A cat finds the smell of these chemicals “repulsive and detects them as something dangerous”, according to the pest pros at Pests Banned.

Filled with potassium, this disposable skin helps plants grow flowers and fruit when used as an organic alternative to chemical fertilisers. 

Gardeners can plant the whole peel under the soil near the roots of the plant such as a rose bush or tomato plant, or just throw the peel on top of the soil and let it decompose. 

Bananas are cheap to buy from local supermarkets as a pack of eight retail for £1.09 at Asda – this works out as 14p per banana. At Sainsbury’s a pack of five bananas is sold for 85p, which works out as 17p per banana.

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