If you want to make a thriving garden, you will need to use the right fertilizer. Rotten fruit can seem like a good option. You’ll be able to kill two birds with one stone, getting rid of the fruit while helping your garden thrive. But will rotten fruit make good fertilizer?

You can use rotten fruit as fertilizer by adding it to the compost pile. You can use rotten fruit as fertilizer by burying it deep into the soil. Or you can make liquid fertilizer from the rotten fruit and spray it on soil or foliage.

In this post, I’ll help you understand when and how to use the rotten fruit as fertilizer. I’ll also teach you how to make liquid fertilizer out of rotten fruits and vegetables. That can give a serious boost to your growing plants.

Let’s check this out.

When to use rotten fruit as fertilizer?

In most cases, rotting isn’t a bad thing. It’s often the desired goal of the composting process. When fruit is rotting, it will release nutrients. This can go back into the soil, helping your plants grow.  

But that doesn’t mean that all rotting fruit will be suitable. You’ll need to think about why they are rotting.

In most cases, it will rot because of the aging process. As the fruit gets older, a combination of enzyme activity and oxygenation will cause it to turn brown. This is normal and will make these fruits a great addition to the compost heap.

You can also compost fruit that has mold growing on it. In most cases, the mold will be completely harmless. The heat will usually kill it in the compost pile.

However, some fruits will rot because they have been attacked and are getting eaten by bugs and other insects. These types of fruits can’t be used as compost.

If there are harmful bugs on the fruit, they can end up infecting the compost heap. From there, they can spread to the entire garden.

Yes, you can use rotten fruit as fertilizer.  Make sure the fruit does not have any diseases or pests in them.  You will need to compost them as using the rotten fruit as it falls from the tree will attract animals, pests, and diseases to your garden.  Use the rotten fruit as the green layer in your compost pile.  After the compost is ready, usually in about six months, you can put 1-3 inches of the compost on your garden. – Stephanie Smith, Master Gardener, https://stephaniesuesansmith.com/

To make sure that you don’t accidentally infect the garden, here are some of the most common signs of microbial activity:

  • Insects or bugs inside the fruit. If you can see bugs crawling inside the fruit, it’s an obvious sign that there is something wrong.
  • If the fruit has changed taste. If you are cooking with the fruit and you notice it has an unpleasant taste, spit it out. Not only will it be disgusting to eat, but it might also be a sign that there are microbial problems.
  • Changed texture. Your food might get moldy or turn brown. This is normal. But if it gets slimy, this is a sign that there is something wrong.
  • Bad smell. Finally, you might be alerted to a microbial problem because it has such a foul stench.
  • Rodents. Another reason to get rid of rotten fruit is when there are signs of rodent activity. These animals will often mark their food. They will use this scent to track it. As a result, you could lead them right back to your compost heap.

How do you use old fruit as fertilizer?

Now that we know which fruit to use, it’s time to turn our attention to how you can use it in the garden. You will need to break down the fruits, so they release the nutrients into the soil. The best way of doing this is by adding them to a compost pile.

1. Add the rotten fruit to your compost pile

The first thing that you need to do is decide which form of composting you want to use. There are a few options for you to choose from. These include:

  • This is more commonly known as a worm farm. The worms will eat the fruit. Their droppings will be rich in nutrients, ideal for use in your garden.
  • This is the most common type of composting. In this case, everything will be added to a compost bin. Then you’ll just need to give it some time to break down into usable soil.
  • In this case, you will add your food to the compost. Then, you will need to sprinkle some bacteria over it. This bacterium will break down the food, turning it into valuable nutrients. Though, like anything involving bacteria, this isn’t entirely without its risk. Because of this, it’s best for more experienced gardeners.
  • You can feed your rotten fruit to the chickens. Their poop will be rich in nutrients.
  • Pit composting. Finally, you can use pit composting, which is the easiest option. In this case, all you need to do is dig a hole and fill it with rotten fruit. Cover it back up with dirt and water and leave it for a year. By the time you are ready to plant, the soil will be rich in nutrients.

Rotting fruit makes a great addition to a compost pile that ultimately acts as a fertilizer. As rotting fruit decomposes, the nutrients they contain become available to plants as food. – Kate Russell, The Daily Garden

I would avoid adding rooting fruit directly to a plant container unless you can bury it deeply. If it is too close to the surface, it will attract fruit flies and other pests.

The method that you use will determine how you want to proceed. If you use chickens, you just need to make sure that you are slowly mixing the rotten fruit into their diet. In most cases, though, there are a few steps you need to follow to make sure that everything has been done properly. These include:

  • Picking the right place. You want to choose somewhere that has plenty of drainage. It can get smelly, so put it away from the house. You should also lock the bin, to make sure that animals can’t break-in.
  • Use layers. Once you have put the rotten food down, it’s time to add a layer of paper. Use some water to dampen it down. This will help it break down quicker and allow you to attract worms.
  • Rotate the pile. Lastly, you need to make sure that you are turning the compost pile frequently. How often you’ll need to do this will depend on the size of the compost. Usually, though, it’s best to do this every four to seven days.

2. Bury the rotten fruit into the soil

If you’re feeling lazy, the simplest option is to bury the rotten fruit into the soil. The fruit will decompose over time and add nutrients for your plants. You can use this method as fertilizer for fruits and vegetables.

Bury the rotten fruit at least 6-inches deep. You don’t want insects, pests, and animals damaging your plants in search of this fruit.

This works similar to the composting method above, but you’re allowing nature to take care of the process for you. It will take a lot longer for the rotten fruits to decompose, so you need to be patient.

An alternate way is to dig a hole near your garden and place a bin that has a lot of holes on the side facing your garden and bury it leaving the lid closed at the surface. Mix your scraps and paper waste there. As it decomposes it will leak into the soil and fertilize your plants. – Ja-ne de Abreu, Author, Sassy Food – JMFDEAPress.com

3. Make liquid fertilizer from the rotten fruit

Another option is to make liquid fertilizer from the rotten fruit by allowing fruit peels to decompose in water. The process is similar to the fermentation used to prepare alcohol.

  • You can take a plastic bottle or container that comes with an air-tight lid.
  • Chop the fruit peels and put them in the container. Make sure to only use 1/3rd of the container with the fruits.
  • Add 1/4th teaspoon of yeast into the container. This will help speed up the fermentation process.
  • Fill the remaining portion of the container with water and close the lid tight.
  • You’ll need to keep this container or bottle in a cool, dry place away from sunlight for 3 months.
  • Check on the solution every 1-2 weeks and release some of the built-up gas by loosening the lid a little.
  • After 3 months, you’ll get a clear solution with a fragrant scent. The fruit waste would have settled at the bottom.
  • Strain the solution and you can use it as a liquid fertilizer. Put it in a spray bottle and spray on the foliage every 2 weeks to give plants a boost.
  • You can also put the leftover fruit waste into your compost pile.
spray bottle
Spray bottle I use to water or spray neem oil

Can I put rotten vegetables in soil?

You can put rotten vegetables in soil because they will decompose over time and add nutrients for your plants. Make sure you put the vegetables at least 6 inches deep to avoid problems of pests and animals. Don’t use diseased or insect-ridden vegetables as that can affect your plants.

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