As an avocado lover I frequently find myself with the skins and pits after enjoying their creamy tastiness in so many different ways. The question arises: can these avocado by products be composted?
The answer is a resounding yes. Composting avocado skins and avocado pits is possible.
Composting avocados requires some attention, as the various parts of the fruit decompose at different rates.
The soft avocado flesh decomposes quickly and provides a rich source of nitrogen. I have to add here that the flesh always gets eaten in our home unless the flesh has turned brown and then it will end up in the compost.
The skins and pits take longer to break down. To speed up decomposition, it is recommended to chop or cut the skins into smaller pieces. That’s easy but what about the pits?
We have at various times added the pits to the compost and not added the pits because they just didn’t break down or took a long time to break down.
Here is food for thought, maybe crush the pits before adding them to the compost pile.
Avocado Composting Basics
Why Compost Avocado
As we know, composting fruit and vegetable peels or scraps, including avocado skins and pits is an environmentally friendly way to recycle kitchen waste.
Reducing landfill waste, nourishing your garden and lowering your carbon footprint are all super good reasons to compost.
Composting avocado also contributes to a healthy balance of green and brown materials in a compost pile.
Composting Ingredients Breakdown
A well-balanced compost pile consists of green and brown materials, moisture, oxygen, and microorganisms.
Green materials: These are rich in nitrogen and include grass clippings, vegetable peelings, and fruit waste. In the case of avocados, the soft flesh or unusable brown meat is considered a green material.
Brown materials: These are rich in carbon and include leaves, wood chips, and straw. For avocados, the skins and pits are considered brown materials.
The decomposition rate of organic materials in a compost pile depends on several factors such as temperature, moisture, and oxygen levels.
Due to the relatively thick and tough nature of avocado skins and pits, they tend to decompose more slowly compared to the easier-to-break-down green components.
To speed up the decomposition process of avocado skins, you can cut them into smaller pieces using kitchen scissors before adding them to the compost pile.
Turning the compost pile periodically helps to introduce fresh oxygen, which also aids in the decomposition process.
Composting Avocado Skins and Avocado Pits
Preparation of Skins and Pits
To successfully compost avocado skins and pits, it is essential to increase their surface area by chopping them into smaller chunks.
Avocado pits should be broken down into smaller chunks as well. You may see an option that says to cut the pit in half .
I don’t favor this option as the pits are too slippery and waxy in my opinion to do this safely.
If you do decide you want to crush the pit, put it into a bag and go outside and hit it with a hammer or rolling pin. Wait until you have a few pits to smash as this would become a tiresome chore after eating each avocado.
The image below shows an avocado pit in a brown paper bag after I had given it a few good whacks using a rubber mallet. A hammer would also work well. You can see where the bag tore a little.
The good thing about this is that the whole lot, bag and all can be thrown into the compost or you can shake the avocado pit remains into the compost and tear the brown paper bag into smaller pieces.
Incidentally, I always keep paper bags if I buy an item and the packaging is a paper bag.
I could also have given the avocado pit a few more whacks to break it up for composting, even further.
Also, you may decide that the pits are too hard to compost, your health will benefit from consuming avocados but bashing the pits maybe a step too far.
Avocado skins, tend to decompose slower than other food scraps and fruit peels, so giving them a quick chop with a knife or cut with kitchen scissors is a good idea before adding to the compost.
Avocado pits can sprout if they are not properly buried. If you add avocado pits to the compost make sure the seed is buried deep in the compost to at least 4-5 inches to avoid sprouting.
Some people have grown trees from pits that have sprouted in the compost. The tree is unlikely to produce quality fruit, as most avocado varieties are grafted clones. The fruit may be small and sparse.
If you are okay with throwing the pit into the compost, just be mindful that it/they are there and after 6 months you can crush them and add them back to the compost to finish decomposing.
From Kitchen Scraps to Compost
Avocado flesh, skins, and the smashed avocado pits can be added to your compost bin or pile along with other kitchen and food scraps, including coffee grounds and organic waste.
Remember to mix the avocado scraps with other organic materials such as leaves and grass clippings to maintain a balanced and healthy compost mixture.
The composting process works by combining organic matter, moisture, oxygen, and microorganisms in the soil. The decomposed matter enriches the soil, providing essential nutrients for plants.
To achieve a nutrient-rich compost, follow these steps:
- Collect avocado scraps, including skins, pits, and fruit flesh.
- Chop the avocado scraps into small pieces using a suitable method as described above.
- Layer the avocado scraps in your compost bin or pile, mixing them with other organic materials.
Remember to turn your compost pile periodically to ensure proper aeration and moisture balance, which are necessary for efficient decomposition of the avocado skins and pits.
Problems and Solutions in Avocado Composting
Common Composting Challenges
One of the primary challenges in composting avocado pits and skins is their slow decomposition rate, which can take anywhere from 2 to 6 months.
To address these issues, it is essential to optimize composting conditions, create a balance between carbon and nitrogen materials, ensure proper aeration, and maintain appropriate moisture levels.
Optimizing Composting Conditions
Size: Cut avocado skins into slices and break down the pits into smaller pieces to increase surface area. This allows worms, microbes, and fungi to break down the material more efficiently, leading to quicker decomposition.
Aeration: Turn the compost pile periodically to allow air circulation and encourage the growth of aerobic microbes responsible for breaking down organic materials.
Adding bulky materials such as branches or newspaper can also improve aeration.
Moisture: Ensure that the compost pile has sufficient but not excessive moisture.
If the pile is too dry, add some water or wet materials like green leaves. If the pile is too wet, mix in dry materials like straw or shredded newspaper.
Hot composting: A hot composting method can speed up the process by creating favorable conditions for microbes to thrive.
To achieve this, maintain a proper balance of carbon-rich (e.g., leaves, twigs) and nitrogen-rich materials (e.g., avocado peels, lawn clippings ) and turn the pile frequently for proper aeration.
Pest control: Prevent pests like ants and flies by covering the compost pile with a layer of dry leaves or a sheet of plastic. Avoid adding meats, bones, or dairy products that attract vermin and other unwanted pests.
Benefits of Avocado Compost
Compost, including the combination of avocado skins and avocado pits, is highly beneficial for providing essential nutrients to the soil that promote healthy plant growth.
The composition of this organic kitchen waste incorporates valuable nutrients like nitrogen, potassium, calcium, and magnesium.
Splitting up the avocado pits and breaking them down before adding them to the compost can greatly enhance their decomposition process. I used a rubber mallet.
Also suitable for smashing avocado pits! 🙂
The microbial activity stimulated by the addition of avocado waste leads to the creation of nutrient-rich soil, which is optimal for gardening and farming purposes
Using Compost for Gardening
Incorporating avocado compost into your gardening routine offers several advantages.
The improved soil texture achieved through the addition of avocado compost supports the growth of healthy plants and increases their resistance to potential diseases.
Using nutrient-rich compost helps to minimize the need for additional fertilizers or soil amendments, therefore reducing costs and environmental impacts so win win there. Watching our pennies on everyone’s mine these days. Composting and growing some of our own vegetables or fruit or herbs is a money saver.
When using avocado compost in a worm bin or vermicompost system, be sure to monitor the bacterial content and moldy aspects of the composting process to ensure a healthy environment for the worms.