Using Vegetable Water on Plants: Reusing Kitchen Scraps


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Vegetable water is a nutritional kitchen byproduct that can fertilize plants because the minerals it contains can be essential for plant growth and development.

Vegetable water, when extracted from kitchen scraps can be used to fertilize plants. Vegetable water will supply plants with the right amount of plant nutrients such as mineral ions – magnesium, calcium, and iron as well as micro and macronutrients, NPK. These nutrients promote healthy growth when applied to plants.

This article explains everything that vegetable scraps from the kitchen have to offer, the different methods used to extract it, and how it can be applied to plants effectively.

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MyLifeUNIT Plastic Watering Can green

The Benefits of Using Vegetable Water on Plants

  • Environmentally friendly source of fertilizer for plants
  • Easy to obtain and readily available (from Kitchen scraps)
  • Allows us to reuse waste material from the kitchen.
  • Save on the cost of purchasing fertilizers.
  • Prevents burns associated with inorganic fertilizer application
  • Promotes healthy bacteria population within the soil
  • It can be applied through Top watering, Bottom Watering, or Misting.
  • Boosts plant growth 
using Vegetable Water for Plants

What is Vegetable Peel Water?

Vegetable water is nutrient-rich water obtained from extracting the nutrients from vegetable scraps by boiling or soaking vegetable peels.

It provides the plant with an organic source of nutrients that promotes plant growth while preventing deficiencies.

The mineral nutrients within the vegetable peels are leached into the water during the boiling process. 

The high temperature of the boiling water breaks down the fibers of the peels which allows the potassium and manganese to easily move into the water.

Boiling usually takes between 30 to 45 minutes to give enough time for the mineral leaching to occur. The water is then obtained from straining the vegetable peels and allowed to cool.

The EPA estimates that 63.1 million tons of food waste were generated in the commercial, institutional, and residential sectors in 2018, which is 21.6 percent of total MSW generation. [Source]

It is important to note that not all the minerals are removed from boiling, and the peels themselves still have a good amount of minerals within them.

The peels can still be dried off and reused on plants as an additional source of slow-release minerals which we will discuss further in this article.

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How is Vegetable Water Beneficial for Plants: Explained

The water obtained from the vegetable peels contains minerals that plants need in order to produce green and healthy leaves.

Vegetable water provides an economical and environmentally friendly way of supplying organically derived essential minerals to plants.

Although the vegetable peel in general does not make up a significant portion of any vegetable, it has the same type of minerals contained in the edible portion of the vegetable.

How to Use Eggshells, Banana Peels, and Coffee Grounds in the Garden

Types of vegetables that can be used

  • Bananas
  • Carrot
  • Potato
  • Apple 
  • Orange

Nutrients Present In These Kitchen Scraps

BananasPotassium, Magnesium, Vitamin C, Manganese
CarrotPotassium, Calcium
PotatoPotassium, Phosphorus, Magnesium, Iron
AppleCalcium, Potassium, Phosphorus
OrangePotassium, Calcium

Nutrient Uses and Deficiency Symptoms in Plants

Using vegetable peel water on plants can prevent deficiency symptoms related to low nutrient levels.

NutrientUse Deficiency Symptom
Nitrogen – NA major component of chlorophyll and is used in photosynthesisStunted Growth, Pale color, Light green yellowish leaves
Prosperous – PEnergy transfer, photosynthesis, the transformation of sugars and starchesStunted growth, darkening of the leaves
Potassium – KEnzyme activation in plants, Increases root growth and improves drought resistance. Brown scorching and curling of leaf tips
Calcium – CaTo provide structural support to cell wallsPlant dark green, Drying starts from the tips, Tender leaves pale
Magnesium – MgUsed in chlorophyll production and enzyme regulationPaleness from leaf edges. Edges have cup shapes folds
Sulfur – SUsed in the formation of amino acids, proteins, and oilsLeaves light green, veins pale green
Boron – BUsed for cell wall formation and plant stabilitydiscoloration of leaf buds. breaking and dropping of buds
Copper – CuPhotosynthetic and respiratory electron transport chainsPale pink between the veins. wilt and Drop.
Chlorine – ClOsmotic and stomatal regulation, disease resistance and toleranceWilting of leaves, especially at the margins
Iron – FeUsed for the synthesis of chlorophyll, and it is essential for chloroplast functionLeaves are pale, No spots, major veins Green
Manganese – MnSustains metabolic roles within different plant cell compartmentsLeaves pale in color, veins dark green
Zinc – ZnFormation of chlorophyll and some carbohydratesLeaves pale, dark spots on leaf edges
* These are the more predominant nutrients found in fertilizers and can vary by brand.

How to Make Vegetable Peel Water?

Vegetable water can be made by boiling or soaking the peels in water for a period of time. 

Additionally, soaking the peels in water and allowing them to sit for some time can also draw the minerals out from the peels and into the water.

These are the Methods for obtaining the vegetable peel water:

Vegetable Peel water from Boiling

Use this method to obtain vegetable peel water from boiling. 

The amount of water you get depends on the amount of scraps you have available at the time.

  1. Place the peels in a cooking pot
  2. Pour water and cover 1 inch above the peels
  3. Stir properly
  4. Place on medium heat (350 oF)
  5. Allow boiling for 30 – 45 minutes
  6. Strain the peels and save the water residue

If the resulting residue is too thick you can also add water to thin it down for addition to your plants.

Making Vegetable Peel water by Pulverizing

Vegetable Peel water obtained from pulverizing follows the same steps as from boiling (stated above).

The only difference is that the vegetable peels are broken up into small pieces in a blender before it is boiled.

This increases the surface area of the vegetable skin being exposed to heat hence allowing more nutrients to go into the water. 

As a result, there is potentially a higher concentration of minerals that can be obtained from the scraps using this method.

Vegetable Peel water Made from Soaking in Water

Obtaining vegetable peel water from soaking requires the peels or scraps to be left in water for a period of time for the minerals from the peels to be leached into the water.

Method:

  1. Place approx 5 vegetable peels (scraps) into a medium-sized jar
  2. Fill the jar with water 
  3. Cover the lid and seal the jar
  4. Allow to sit for 10 to 15 days

The peels will turn dark as it is being oxidized and the water will also change color. 

After the time has passed, strain the water from the peels and apply it to your plants.

Tip: Breaking the peels into smaller pieces will help speed up the soaking process by increasing the surface area. 

Using Pulverized Vegetable Peels on Plants

Banana peels in blender

After boiling there is still a significant amount of minerals still trapped within the peel. However, the leftover peels can still be used to maximize their benefits.

The leftover peels are dried to ensure all the moisture is removed and then pulverized into a powder or as fine as possible. 

This makes it easier for it to break down and release its minerals when added to the soil.

Pulverizing increases the surface area of the peels which increases the rate at which it releases nutrients into the soil. 

Adding the peels to the soil without breaking it up will allow for a much slower release of minerals into the soil as bacteria will take more time to break it down.

Method for Pulverizing Vegetable peels:

  1. Take 5 or more vegetable peels and place it in a dry area or outside in the sun
  2. Allow the peels to dry for 2 -3 days
    (the skins will become dark and hard as the water is released)
  3. Place the dried vegetable peels in a blender and blend for 1 minute
  4. Remove the pulverized peels and add to any plant soil around the base of the plant stem.
  5. Cover the powdered peels with soil so that the decomposition process can occur faster.

Using vegetable Peel Water with Succulents 

Vegetable water can be used to water succulents while adding vital nutrients at the same time. 

The mineral-rich water should be thinned so that it can be applied as a spray as succulents require more dry aerated soil. 

Succulents can be misted with a solution of vegetable peel water during their normal watering schedule. Succulents require a small amount of water and nutrients at any given time. 

Misting succulents with vegetable peel water is a sure method of providing them with the minerals from the vegetable peels without overwriting and causing problems associated with overwatered soil.

How to Mist Succulents with Vegetable Peel Water 

  1. Any household spray bottle can be used as long as it is cleaned properly.
  2. The water should be thin enough for the spray bottle to expel the water
  3. Add the peel water to the spray bottle
  4. Spray or mist the plant on the top as well as the underside of the leaves
  5. Also, spray the topsoil with water.

Misting should be done during the morning periods or late evenings to allow the plant to absorb moisture and nutrients. 

This also prevents the heat of the day from drying out the moisture too quickly.

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Bottom Watering with Vegetable Peel Water

The bottom watering process

Bottom watering plants with vegetable peel water is another way plants can benefit from minerals from the vegetable. 

Bottom watering will allow for the vegetable peel water to be absorbed thoroughly into the soil without having it in an overwatered state. 

In doing so, the total mass of the plant roots will be able to access the nutrients provided by the water.

Bottom watering is an effective method of watering plants that ensures the entire root structure gets water without the risk of overwatering your plants. See the bottom watering plants article here.

How to bottom water with vegetable Peel water

  1. Use a small, flat container two inches larger than the plant pot
  2. Place the plant into the container
  3. Add the vegetable peel water so that the water level reaches 1 to 1 ½ inches high on the side of the plant pot
  4. Allow the plant to sit in the water for 15 to 20 minutes
  5. After the time has passed stick your finger in and test the soil for moisture
  6. Once you feel that the soil is moist (not wet) you can remove the plant.
  7. Place the plant to drain out any excess water 

See our helpful article on how to apply fertilizer when bottom watering which will give helpful insights on how to properly add nutrients to plants when bottom watering.  

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Plants that Vegetable Peel Water is Effective on

Vegetable Peel water can be effective on all plants as it provides vital nutrients for plant growth. 

However, the method of application would differ depending on the type of plant that it is being applied to.

SucculentsMisting
Indoor PlantsMisting, Top Watering, Bottom Watering
Garden Plants Top watering, Soil application via Sprayers.

What are the Precautions When Using Vegetable Peel Water

When using vegetable Peel water in the soil you should always ensure that the water is at ambient or room temperature so that it does not kill the bacteria in the soil and harm the plant. 

This precaution is applicable if you are using the water from boiled vegetable Peel.

Additionally, vegetable peel water is a  good additive to the soil but care must be taken when watering as it can be easy to overwater the soil which can lead to root rot and yellowing of the plant leaves.

Our recommendation is to use the bottom watering method to ensure that the plant is getting the right amount of water for optimal growth.

When misting, ensure that the water is properly strained to remove vegetable particles that would easily clog the nozzles of the misting bottle.

Here is our article on adding fertilizer when misting which gives detailed insights on how quickly plants absorb fertilizer when applied via misting and how to correctly do it.

Using Fermented Vegetable Peel Water as a Pesticide

The benefits of using fermented vegetable peel water have been proven to encourage a good bacterial population which in turn promotes healthy root growth. 

Additionally, fermented vegetable peel water produces a sour alcohol-like aroma which wards away unwanted pests like lizards, snakes, and iguanas from the garden.

Additionally, insects like fruit flies, gnats, plant lice, flea beetles, aphids, and other pests can be reduced using fermented vegetable peel water as the alcohol from fermentation acts like an irritant to these small insects which can also kill them.

How to Make Fermented Vegetable Peel Water

  1. Use any available jar
  2. Fill ¾ of the contents with vegetable peel water
  3. Mix in 1 teaspoon of sugar with the water
  4. Mix in 4 tablespoons of liquid milk
  5. Cover the jar and allow it to sit for 3 – 4 days
  6. After the time has passed the solution will turn from opaque to translucent.

The resulting solution can now be used as pest control for both houseplants and in the garden.

Other Methods of Using Kitchen Scraps as Plant Fertilizers

Kitchen scraps can be used to provide plants with a cost-effective and organic means of fertilizer. 

There are many items from the kitchen that are used daily that can supply nutrients and minerals to your plants by either adding directly to the soil or by boiling or soaking in water. 

Here are a few ways:

Boiled Egg Water on Plants

Eggshell water can be used to water plants because it provides the plant with calcium minerals and amino acids. 

Calcium is used by plants to strengthen stems and leaves while providing structural support for cell walls. Supplying a sufficient amount of calcium results in rapid and healthy plant growth.

You can find the full and detailed article here.

Watering Plants with Pasta Water

Pasta water can be used to water plants because it provides (NPK) fertilizer and minerals for plants to effectively use while promoting a healthy bacteria population. 

This results in healthy plant growth. Pasta water can also be applied using any watering method and can also ward off unwanted pests when fermented.

You can find the full and detailed article here.

Using Rice Water on Plants

fermented rice water

Rice water can be used to water plants because it provides nutrients and minerals for plants to effectively use while promoting a healthy bacteria population. 

This results in healthy plant growth. It can also be applied using any method and can also ward off unwanted pests when fermented. 

See how this can be done from our detailed article here.

The Takeaway

vegetable Peel water can be very beneficial to plants by adding valuable minerals and nutrients to the soil. 

It helps increase bacterial growth which in turn breaks down organics compounds within the soil making nutrients easily available for plants to use.

vegetable Peel water can be obtained from either soaking the vegetable Peel in water or through boiling and is a cost-effective method in providing plants with organic fertilizer.

Additionally, it can be applied through any watering method both on indoor plants and in the garden.

vegetable Peel water can also be used as a pesticide that can ward off large pests in the garden and even small flies, gnats, and flea beetles.

The overall result of using vegetable Peel water on your plants is healthy growth and increased fruit and crop production.

JayLea

JayLea has a passion for plants and has been gardening since 2015. He has valuable knowledge about gardening and houseplant care and can answer everyday practical questions that every plant owner has.

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