Peaches are my favorite fruits, and I easily go through a dozen a week during stone fruit season, savoring the sweet flavors of summer peaches. When this happens, I end up with quite a few peach pits. Having accidentally bitten fruit pits once or twice, believe me when I say they are hard and do not break easily.
I hate to toss organic materials and food scraps into the trash when I know they will break down in a compost pile. But with pits this hard, I wasn’t sure if there was a point trying to compost them if they would never break down. That’s when I decide to find out if stone fruit pits could be composted and, if so, how to do it successfully.
Is it Okay to Compost Peach Seeds?
Peach pits are safe to compost along with other fruit peels like orange rinds and banana peels. Although there is no harm in adding these fruit pits to the compost, they do take a very long time, several years, to break down. A fresh peach could take as long as wood chips to break down in an average backyard compost pile.
If you are composting a handful of peaches and their pits, you will want to bury them deeply in the compost heap. Peach pits too close to the top of the compost pile can attract pests and may even sprout and give you bare-root peach trees right in your pile. While not the worst weed, we usually don’t like random plants sprouting in our compost bins.
Other Fruits Commonly Composted
Peaches aren’t the only delicious fruit that is hard to compost. Citrus fruits can kill soil microbes and delay decomposition time, making them non-ideal for compost piles. Other fruits also have seeds and pits that need time to break down. Knowing which fruits will give you compost pit trouble and what to do about it can help make fruit good for compost and your garden soil.
|Soak and Grind
|Soak and Crush
|Soak and Crush
|Bake and Grind
Cherry pits are much smaller than peach tree seeds but just as hard. While they can be added to the compost as is with very little issue, there are a few things you can do to speed up the process more. If you soak cherry pits, then the shell becomes softer and will break down faster. You can also use an average food processor to grind the fruit seeds into powder for immediate decomposition.
Very similar to peaches these will also break down over several years if just tossed into a compost pile with no preparation. Apricots are juicy fruits and, like the whole range of stone fruit, can benefit from seed soaking prior to composting. After soaking, a brown paper bag can be filled with apricot seeds and smashed with a hammer like walnuts to create smaller and easier to compost pieces.
To make plum fruit pits compostable, you will need to find a way to soften the shell. Harder than cherries but not as solid as a peach stone of apricot seeds, plum pits can be tossed directly in the compost or smashed first. Soaking will help make the shell weaken and compost better if you will be composting them without smashing them first.
These fruits do not have hard shells or seeds that make them slow to decompose. Instead, citrus fruits change the acidity of your compost pile and kill off the microbes in the soil. Adding a lot of citrus fruits all at once can slow down or even stop the composting process and kill countless soil microbes. Drying out the peels of lemons, oranges, and grapefruits can reduce the effects it has on compost pH when added to the bin.
How To Speed Up Peach Pit Compost?
Peach pits can be composted without really affecting your pile negatively. Even if it takes several years to decompose, it is still helpful to the overall health of your garden. Every time a peach pit gets added back to the compost pile, it returns some of the microbes from the previous batch.
Compost works by building a perfect environment for the creatures that break organic matter down to live and thrive. When you start a new batch, these microbes have to colonize the kitchen scraps all over again. If you add a peach pit from the last batch, then your new compost will have an immediate boost of good bacteria to break your compost down.
If you do want to speed up the decomposition of the peach seeds, you can soak them overnight to weaken the outer shell. Once the shell is weakened, you can smash it and scatter the pieces throughout the compost bin. These should break down much faster than a whole unsoaked peach pit, although still longer than other fruit scraps.