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Those Bodacious Banana Peels
January 03, 2011

A Belated Happy New Year.

What a blessed 'Holiday Season' that just ended.

I finally get it .......

As I mature, the true meanings of Christmas and the season, come to life.

The giving and sharing.

No more I want or gimme,gimme, gimme

It's not about me.

It's love and caring for others (even strangers).

Giving of one's self.

Sacrifice (sound familiar).

Through this process, a person starts feeling good and that warmth rubs off.

It is a cycle of love and caring, now if we can continue throughout the year.

So, Life is Good.

Enter 2011, a New Year.

New Hopes.

New Beginnings.

A new Gardening season for most readers.

I gave up on New Year Resolutions long ago.

Why make a list of to do's and to don'ts when I know they will be broken within a month, week, or that day.

If I want to start or stop doing something, why not start a regular plan and stick to it?

I've learned that I can do most things if I put my mind and will to it.

I can do even more (all things) through God how strengthens me. (Philippians 4-13 paraphrased)

Winter has been one big wimpy disappointment around here.

I am actually jealous of you folks that have some real snow.

Can you believe it, there was more snow on the ground for Christmas in Atlanta, GA then here in SW. MI.

What little we had has melted, as temperatures were in the 50's and rain for New Years Eve.

Followed by a flash freeze, and finally a couple of inches of unpredicted Lake Effect.

The pictures show the frozen pond nearby and some fresh fox tracks on the frozen pond.

(This isn't good for my perennials at all.)

A new month means it is time to give your feeders a good cleaning once again.

A good scrubbing and sanitizing is a must for your birds.

Too busy for that?

Give your feeders a good spray down with rubbing alcohol.

It isn't a substitute for cleaning, but it will do in a pinch.

Again, no worries as alcohol evaporates quickly with no residual effects.

For gardeners like you and me, there is no garden season per-say.

Oh sure, planting and growing seasons come and go.

There are planting times.

There are harvests and killings frosts that bring and end to many gardens.

But a true gardener is already thinking and planning about the next year.

Gardening never truly ends.

I begin to look toward next growing season by September 1st, and I have as long as I can recall.

I begin to think about what to try and what not to plant.

I make mental notes or log certain things.

Successes and failures.

What to try next year.

New beginnings and so on.

If you are the proud owner of a greenhouse, you may have things growing all the time.

Many of you have had catalogs coming in the mail for the past month, I know I have and January is my time to wear out the pages as I thumb and re-thumb through all of the catalogs.

I make wish lists, dream lists, and the got to have lists.

And of course.......................................

Every year there is at least one item to try.

Yes, gardeners are never done gardening, whether here at home, Nepal, Thailand, Great Britain, or elsewhere.

Gardeners are gardeners.

True gardeners can always do something or prepare for the following season, even if in subtle ways.

Here is a tip or two I hope you will consider.

The Bodacious Banana (Peel)

So why am I mentioning and writing about banana peels the first week of January?

Why save them now?

You have heard or read on how the banana is the near perfect food.

Banana peels as well as the banana are very good for your gardens and plants as well.

If you don't eat bananas, or rarely buy them for one reason or another, you may want to purchase a bunch of discounted banana every so often, just to feed to your plants.

Keep frozen or dry them out, but feed your plants.

Read on...............

Banana peels are high in Potassium and Phosphorus, which are important macro-nutrients plants need.

Both elements are important in strong root growth and for flowering and producing fruits (don't forget to add nitrogen).

I toss banana peels around my roses and always use them when planting my potted tomatoes and peppers (more roots, more fruits) and a few small pieces when potting up all kinds of new plants.

No more than two or three peels at a time around roses and cut up pieces with potted plants.

New plants get a dose of banana peel as I toss some cut up pieces in with the soil when I back fill the hole and I add some regularly as the plants continue to grow and produce.

Give a dose of banana peel to new cuttings and even your houseplants.

Add banana peels regularly to your compost bin, if you happen to have one.

The high levels of phosphorus and potassium are an essential addition to your homemade fertilizer and compost that is often high in Nitrogen and Carbon.

Whole banana peels break down fairly rapidly, however for faster decomposition, cut the peels into small pieces and mix them up with fresh soil for an added boost when planting a new plant.

If you must, you can cut them in small pieces and whip them up in your blender.

This way you can pour it on (more work in my opinion).

If you happen to have access to a banana tree, add leaves, stalks and skins to your soil as well.

Toss a banana peel onto the ground around your shrubs, flowers or in your garden as an extra fertilizer every time you enjoy a banana (We do).

The peels disintegrate and are absorbed into the ground quickly.

When cleaning up the yard in the spring and summer, adding a boost of potassium and phosphorus rich banana peels can help your plants grow and flower better than ever.

I do strange things, I will cut up banana peels into pieces over the winter and keep them in the freezer, shed or garage.

This way I have a nice supply when planting season rolls around.

If I have extra peels, they get pitched into snow covered flower beds and gardens.

You may want to pitch your banana peels in your compost pile if you have one.

Southern and tropical gardeners can utilize over ripe bananas and banana peels by tossing them in your gardens and around shrubs and trees year round.

You may also want to dry them before storing them or using them, especially if critters are an issue for you.

I have learned that over the years, that potted plants leach out quick and need to be fed weekly (no matter how good the potting soil is).

Banana peels are a cheap, yet effective way to feed all of your potted plants potassium and phosphorous (especially tomatoes).

You can use them with your regular plant foods, bananas give your plants a strong root boost and more blooms/fruits.

Now here is something of interest and I just know you'll start using those bodacious banana peels now.

Once you read this, you will be almost as excited as a kid on Christmas Eve to see if this is really true or if it works.

Deter aphids and ants:

For the past few years we have been feeding our Hybrid Tea Roses a good dose of banana peels.

Why not, they are high in phosphorous and potassium, both are needed for strong healthy plants and blooms and we know roses are heavy feeders.

I never paid much attention to this, but I would comment
to Karen from time to time on the lack of aphids and not having to take action.

Not until late last year, when I read about banana peels and aphids.

Read on..............................

Now here is the kicker

It seems that aphids don't like potassium for some reason and will leave the plants alone that are fed banana peels ( we still eat the bananas ).

You can bury dried or cut-up banana peels an inch or two deep around the base of the aphid-prone plants, and soon the little suckers will pack up and leave.


I simply toss them around the plants and let them decompose.

I never bother to dry them, but you may need to do so.

You may not want to use whole peels or the bananas themselves.

They tend to be viewed as tasty treats by raccoons, squirrels, gophers, and other animals, who will just dig them up.

In the past, I've had aphid issues by mid summer with my tomatoes (red aphids).

These too are MIA the past few years.

I will make sure I feed my Lupines banana peels this spring (never an issue until the spring of 2010).

Banana peels are 42% potash (potassium), about 3% Phosphorous and 0% nitrogen.

Quickly absorbed into the plant, the high potassium deters aphids, plain ans simple.

(Sycamore seed balls)

On a product label it would read like this..............

0 - 3 - 42

Pretty Cool Huh?

Start saving those peels

Another bonus.

Ants are attracted to rose bushes because of the aphids.

Aphids secret a sticky, honeydew like substance that ants eat.

Get rid of aphids and ants with your garbage.

Yes, the humble yet bodacious banana peel.

To dry the banana peels, place the skins on a cookie sheet in an oven set to about 200-degrees until the peels crumble using moderate hand pressure.

A pair of scissors works wonders in quick cutting into small pieces

Store the dried product in plastic zipper bags, ready to use any time you set out new plants and when you till the soil every spring.

"Save the banana peels," is a great way to begin a conversation.

Your friends may raise their eyebrows and your family may laugh when you ask for their banana peels, aphids will not be laughing because they are no longer around to bug you.

Your plants will look healthier and stronger and reward you with more blooms and fruits than ever before.

One last hint............................

To add some extra shine to your indoor or outdoor plants before reusing your banana skins as fertilizer. A banana skin can be used to gently remove dust and dirt from leaves and greenery, and will leave them shining and beautiful.

Well, it is time to fly for now.

Before I go, here is your positive thought for the week.

Until next time, God Bless.

(Pictures of nearby Plaster Creek and a winter sky.)

Many of our fears are tissue paper thin, and a single courageous step would carry us clear through them.

Brendan Francis (1923-1964) Irish Author

Indeed, many of our fears never happen, yet they can cripple us.

Today, take a step forward.

Take a leap of faith.

Until next time,

God Bless.

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you."

Deuteronomy 31:6

"Treat the earth well:

It was not given to you by your parents,

It was loaned to you by your children.

We do not inherit the Earth from our

Ancestors, we borrow it from our Children."

Ancient Indian Proverb

Your friend indeed,

Ron Patterson

PS. If you enjoy these letters, please forward them to friends, family and co-workers.

Better yet, have them sign up so they can receive their own letters.

Gardening For Wildlife.

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