Can You Compost Cherry Pits? (What To Do With Your Pits)





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Have you ever wondered “can you compost cherry pits (what to do with your pits)?

Will these rock-like things ever break down, or will they linger eternally in your compost, frustrating any attempt to turn them into something useful?

They might seem too hard to possibly be broken down by a bit of rain and bacteria.

You certainly can compost cherry pits, and the only thing you need to be aware of is that it will take quite a long time.

Cherry pits are designed to be survivors; they are durable enough to pass through the digestive system of an animal, and plants want them to survive anything, so they certainly are tough.

However, given enough time, your compost will handle them.

cherry pits sitting on a wet table

Can I Just Compost Them?

Yes, it’s as simple as that – you can just toss cherry pits straight into your compost pile as soon as you’re ready to.

You may decide that it’s a good idea to stir them in a bit so they don’t end up in one clump, but otherwise, you don’t really need to do anything else.

This is true of any stoned fruit, such as peaches, avocados, plums, mangoes, and olives.

Check out my article composting mangoes can it be done they are similar to cherrys and I share some good tips

The bigger the pit, the longer it will take to decompose, but it will eventually get there, especially in the right composting conditions.

After all, think about the natural world. If all the cherries and peaches and avocados that failed to germinate would not decompose, we’d have some big problems with all those pits hanging around.

While they resist decomposition fiercely, nature has to be able to overcome this resistance and process them back into soil to maintain its balance.

So, toss cherry pits in the compost, happy in the knowledge that they will, in time, disappear and give their nutrients back to the ground.

How Long Will They Take To Disappear?

This totally depends on your composting conditions, but be warned – it will be a long time. Some people say that cherry pits can take up to ten years to disappear completely.

However, if your compost is turned regularly and gets hot, you’ll find that it processes everything, including cherry pits, much more efficiently.

You might notice that instead of disappearing, the pits sprout. If so, you have two choices.

You can either scoop the seedling out of the compost, pot it up, and see if you get a brand new cherry tree from it, or you can just turn it back into the compost.

The tumbling of the pile will usually kill the seedling. Cherries in your compost are nothing to worry about, even if you don’t want a cherry tree.

How Can I Speed Them Up?

If ten years (or even two or three years) is sounding a bit too long, don’t worry – you can easily speed the whole process up, and there are quite a few tricks that will work to do this.

Firstly, soaking the cherry pits will help. The longer you soak them for, the softer they will become, and the more easily they will decompose when you add them to the compost.

Leave them in a bowl of water for a few days or weeks (change the water when it starts to smell) and then toss them into the heap, and they will break down more quickly.

For an even faster effect, you can use waste boiling water. When you next drain vegetables or pasta, tip the boiling water over the cherry pits.

The heat will stress the pits and help to wear away at their resilience. Leave them to soak. You can repeat this process several times before tossing the pits into the compost.

Alternatively, break the stones up.

The smaller the pieces of something, the easier it is for bacteria and worms to eat away at it, and pits are no exception to this rule.

You can smash cherry stones with a hammer. It’s recommended to do this outside to minimize the mess indoors. Collect up the pieces and toss them into the compost heap.

If that sounds too messy, consider putting them in the blender instead.

However, you’ll want a high quality blender for this, and it should be done in fairly low quantities, or you might burn the motor out.

You’ll get some much finer pieces of pit that will break down far more quickly with this method.

Another option is to burn the cherry pits and add the ash to your compost pile instead.

This is a great idea if you’re having a fire or if you have a wood burner of some sort, but might be fiddly for everyday use.

However, the ash is very beneficial and will ensure the pits have totally decomposed in a short space of time.

cherry cut in half on a white background with pits visible

What If I Find Whole Pits When I Want To Use The Compost?

If you’re getting ready to use your compost on the garden and you start finding whole pits, you might be wondering what to do about it, especially if pretty much everything else has decomposed.

You may not want the pits to end up in your garden soil, but putting them into a landfill isn’t a great option either.

The answer is simple: toss them back. Anything in your compost that hasn’t finished composting when you come to use it can simply be thrown back into your next compost pile for further processing.

You don’t need to worry about them; they will break down eventually.

If the pits do accidentally end up in the garden, don’t worry about that either.

The chances of them germinating after a year or two in a compost heap are very slim, so they’ll probably just resume composting under the surface of the soil.

They won’t do any harm, and will slowly provide nutrients to the garden.

Final thoughts

Composting cherry pits is the most eco-friendly way to deal with them.

They will take time to decompose, but you can just keep returning them to the compost heap until they do, or try soaking them, breaking them up, or burning them to encourage faster breakdown!

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