How to make garden plants flower better while deterring rats and cats

Fertilising the garden is one of the best investments a gardener could make, with the promise of larger blooms, more extensive harvests, and generally happier plants. However, top-tier fertiliser doesn’t come cheap.

Luckily, innovative gardeners have found a kitchen scrap item that not only helps to save money but also minimises kitchen waste significantly. 

Every household encounters kitchen waste, regardless of how strict they might be about consuming everything prior to its expiry date – plant products being a prime culprit.

In an attempt to reduce this wastage, one gardener queried if she could utilise her orange peels in gardening, what items should be off-limits, and whether this could really enhance her plants’ health. 

On the Gardening UK Facebook page, Angela Knight posed: “Hi, I have a few compost questions. Can I put orange peel in the compost bin? I eat loads of oranges but as I never knew if you could I tend to throw the peel away.”

She followed up with: “I know you can’t put onions, cooked food and meat in, but is there anything else you shouldn’t put in the compost bin?”

Fellow group members were quick to encourage the use of orange peels in the garden, with Louise Gallagher stating: “I always add oranges and onion! Not had any problems.”

Mabel Walker agreed, adding: “I put all uncooked veg and fruit peel, onions and orange banana peel, buckets of unwashed seaweed in and shredded paper and cardboard.”

Brian Corr revealed: “I have always put onions and also orange, lime and lemon peels in and it’s never been an issue for me. It’s helped my plants fantastically to flower better and has deterred rats and cats from my garden.”

The pungent aroma of oranges acts as a superb and harmless deterrent for felines that often use gardens as their personal lavatories.

Emma Kelsall shared: “We put it all in our compost. The only thing I avoid is anything cooked.”

Chris Taylor remarked: “Orange peel is brilliant to add to compost as it breaks down it releases phosphorus, nitrogen and potassium.

“Every plant needs as much of these nutrients as it can get to thrive. I put the skins of oranges in my compost every day. The family love fresh squeezed orange juice for breakfast.”

Garden enthusiasts are encouraged to add orange peels to their compost heaps. Within two years, the peels will begin to decompose.

Rich in nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus, these elements create nutrient-dense soil once they break down, ideal for gardening.

Due to their acidic nature, they’re especially good for acid-loving plants like potatoes, blueberries, azaleas and hydrangeas.

Oranges are an affordable purchase at local supermarkets, with a five-pack selling for 99p at Asda and at Sainsbury’s equating to just 20p per orange.

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