If you are a keen composter, you’ll always be looking for information about what you can and can’t add to your compost heap, and certain things may give you cause for concern.
For example, many people are aware that you can’t add citrus peels to the compost bin – so what about watermelon? Can you compost watermelon? ( Time scale )Yes, you can compost watermelon, and indeed all kinds of melon.
They will add valuable nutrients to your compost pile, but it will take a while for the rinds of the melons to break down and disappear.
Can I Compost Watermelon Flesh?
Yes, you can absolutely compost watermelon flesh if you want to. If for any reason you have not finished your watermelon and the flesh has gone bad, or you just know you won’t eat it in time, you can compost it.
You can toss watermelon straight into the compost whether it is fresh or bad, and you don’t need to do anything with it.
Just add it to the pile, and stir it in with some brown material, and it will soon disappear and create lovely rich compost that you can use in your garden.
Can I Compost Watermelon Rind?
You can compost melon rind too, yes. This is probably the part of the melon that you are most likely to be composting, so you’ll be glad to hear that it should break down just fine in your compost bin.
It will also add valuable structure to the bin; because it has structure and rigidity, it should help to increase the airflow and keep the bin operating healthily.
If you toss pieces of rind in the bin from time to time, they will keep it from getting too compacted, even as you add other materials.Watermelon rind won’t cause any issues in your compost bin, so you can add it without worrying.
Can I Compost A Whole Watermelon?
What about if you have a watermelon that you forgot about and it never quite got used up, but instead lingered in the fruit bowl until it was mushy and inedible?
Can you toss the whole thing in the compost bin?In theory, you could compost a whole watermelon. However, you may want to think twice before doing so.
While the watermelon will eventually break down and disappear into the compost, it will take a very long time if the rind is intact.
The rinds are strong and waterproof, and this makes it very difficult for your compost to break them down.
Composting depends on moisture, worms, and bacteria, and if the rind stays dry because of its waterproofing, it won’t easily break down.Normally, the bacteria and worms will attack the inner part of the watermelon first, and work their way out into the rind.
If they only have access to the waterproof, tough side, they will really struggle to break it down.Eventually, they will succeed, especially if there is any damage to the rind, but it will be much slower than if you break it up yourself before you put it in the bin.
How Long Does It Take To Compost Watermelon Flesh?
Watermelon flesh is very soft and will break down easily.
You probably already know that food with high water content disappears fast in the compost bin, and watermelon flesh is almost entirely water – perhaps hence the name!
How long it will take does depend a bit on your composting conditions. If you have a hot composter, fresh watermelon flesh could disappear in just a few days, or even more quickly if it has already begun to rot.
If you cold compost and your heap is therefore less speedy when it comes to breaking things down, it will probably take a week or two to completely vanish, unless you cut it into small chunks.However, the time scale will depend quite a lot on the conditions and activity of the bin.
Remember to mix some browns in with your melon, because it is quite wet and it will otherwise make the bin too damp. Include some cardboard or newspaper to soak up any excess moisture. Add some twigs and straw as an alternative if you don’t have cardboard.
How Long Does It Take To Compost Watermelon Rind?
Watermelon rind does take quite a lot longer to decompose than the flesh, because it is very much tougher and its structure will take a long time to break down.
As mentioned, the waterproof coating will give the bacteria responsible for composting some trouble, even when they have access to the soft inner side.
Depending on your bin and the size of the melon rinds, it could take a few weeks or even a few months for the melon rind to disappear.However, this shouldn’t be a problem.
If you want to use the compost, you can just toss parts of rind that are still intact back into your new compost heap, and if you aren’t in a hurry, simply allow it to break down at its own rate.
It will take a lot less time if you chop the rinds up before you add them to the compost bin, so you may wish to do this.
Why Might I Want To Compost Watermelon?
Composting is a great, eco-friendly way of dealing with food waste and if you’re wondering what the advantages of composting watermelon are, there are quite a few.
Keeping Organic Waste Out Of Landfills
Firstly, it diverts waste from landfill sites. This is important for two reasons, so let’s explore both.
It reduces the overall strain on the landfills, because less waste overall will be put into the sites, meaning there is more space for things that cannot be dealt with in other ways.
This means that less land needs to be dedicated to landfill sites overall, and keeps our planet just a bit greener.The second reason is that keeping organic waste out of landfills can reduce greenhouse gasses.
Organic materials might seem like they should just disappear into the ground when you throw them in landfills, but actually, the conditions in a landfill site are not favorable to natural decomposition.
The material is so compressed that there is very little oxygen, and this means that organic waste breaks down slowly, and in anaerobic conditions.
In your ordinary compost heap, where there is plenty of oxygen, the food waste is broken down by aerobic bacteria, and these are reasonably planet-friendly.
The anaerobic bacteria in a landfill site (or any other oxygen-starved conditions in which food waste might break down) releases methane and other harmful gasses that contribute to global warming.
Overall, those are pretty good reasons for keeping organic waste well away from landfill sites and in home composters or council-run composting schemes. However, there are other compelling reasons for not putting watermelon into your general waste bin.
Reducing Your Garbage Bin
When you put food waste in your kitchen bin, you can run into a plethora of small but frustrating problems.
For example, it can produce an unpleasant smell, especially if it is past its best when you put it in, and you rarely empty the bin.
Admittedly, melon rinds are unlikely to smell particularly bad, but the melon flesh may. The other potential issue that is particularly pertinent with melons is that they are very attractive to fruit flies.
If you put melon of any sort in your bin (but especially the flesh), you are likely to find that you soon have lots of irritating flies drifting around your bin and getting into your other food.
While fruit flies don’t carry the same safety concerns as meat flies, they are still unpleasant in the kitchen, and they will land on any edibles they can reach.
Fruit flies can be frustratingly hard to get rid of, even if you remove their original source of food, and they will attack almost anything they can find, including non-fruit edibles.If possible, it’s better not to put melon in your kitchen bin, or any other indoor bin for these reasons.
Getting Rich Compost
One of the biggest reasons for composting any food is that you get lovely compost at the end of it – completely for free, bar a little work.
This is a very environmental way to acquire compost, since there is no need for the food waste to be shipped, composted elsewhere, and then shipped around the country and collected by consumers (meaning that it has no fuel costs) and it saves you money, too.
Home compost can be great for the garden, and adding a good mix of food waste and garden waste is the perfect way to ensure that your compost turns out rich and fertile, ready to be used on the land. Watermelons will add to that perfection.
You can certainly add melon to your compost bin with no issue.The flesh will disappear quickly, and the rinds will help to aerate the compost bin and slowly break down over a period, adding nutrients to the compost.