A big pile of chilled pineapples? Yes, a definite yes. A big pile of decomposing pineapples in a compost pile? A hard pass.
Pineapple can be used while making a compost pit, yes. But there are definitely certain aspects of decomposing them that you will need to keep in mind, moving forward.
Here’s all you’ll need to know about how to make a pineapple compost.
How to make a pineapple compost
The process is similar to making any other compost pit or bin :
You find an ideal location, select the container you wish to compost your organic waste—like a barrel compost, open compost pits, closed or retainer bins, etc— and then you fill the bin with your organic waste which, in this case, is pineapples.
But, can you use all parts of the pineapple?
Yes, you can.
The most frequently discarded part of a pineapple that is used to make compost is the tough, leathery and pointy outer rind or skin of the fruit.
Once you have eaten the fruit inside, the outside remains discarded.
So, before you add that to the pit, it is important to prepare the pineapple accordingly.
Step 1: Rinse
You will need to rinse the outside of the pineapple under a strong spray, as washing the fruit will remove any pesticides that may remain on the skin.
Step 2: Separate
Go ahead and separate the tough skin and leaves of the pineapple from the soft fruit inside.
Step 3: Chop
Cut the leaves and the skin into smaller pieces of roughly one to three inches.
Why? Well, the tough outer layer takes much longer to decompose, than most other material used in composting. Cutting them up into smaller pieces will hasten the process.
You can also add any leftover scraps and bits of the pineapple, like the flesh, along with the leaves and the skin.
This will constitute as the ‘greens’ in the greens to browns ratio(1:3) and is rich in nitrogen.
Make sure to add other green and brown parts, like grass or reeds and hay, pine or dry leaves to the compost, along with the pineapples
The pros of making a pineapple compost pit
1.Improves soil texture
Pineapples do wonders to help improve the texture of the soil. It is super rich in calcium, and, added to the soil, allows water and moisture to penetrate easily, making the soil compact and well textured.
2. Increases microorganisms in the soil
Pineapple compost in the soil increases the presence of good bacteria, as well as fungi and actinomycetes in the soil.
It increases the activities of catalase, urease, acid phosphatase and invertase in the soil, all of which offer plants nutrients and helps drive away plant-pests, bugs, and roaches.
3. Great source of nutrients
There’s no question about it; pineapple composts add a whole ton of nutrients to the soil, along with phosphorus, zinc, calcium and vitamins.
The zinc helps to synthesise plant proteins, calcium helps with the growth of plants, phosphorus maintains the general health and vigour of the plant and the vitamins help with the antioxidant functions.
Pineapples see some of the highest production wastes. Composting them is a great way to recycle waste in a productive way that will benefit agriculture and ecology.
The only thing you‘ll need to be aware of, while composting pineapples, is the high level of acidity that the fruit contains.
Along with other citrus fruits like oranges and lemons, pineapples contain high amounts of bromelain properties. Acidity can harm the integrity and pH balance of the soil.
So, before you put it into compost, you will have to control the acidity. This can be done in two ways:
Allow to ripen
By allowing the fruit to naturally ripen, the acidity in the fruit will diminish and it will be relatively safe to add to the compost bin.
Hydrated White Lime
The second way of killing the acidity is to add hydrated white lime to the compost that will directly react with the acids produced by the pineapple and deaden the acid.
This will allow the decomposition to resume as the acid in the fruit originally ‘preserves’ the fruit, preventing it from decay and decomposition.
Pineapples take a long time to decompose.
While the flesh will rot and decompose pretty quickly due to the high level of moisture and sugar in it, the tough rind, however, as well as the leaves and the cores will take significantly longer as they are drier, tougher and more water-resistant
.This is why you are advised to chop these bits up into smaller pieces, as well as to keep the compost well moisturize to augment decomposition.
Things to keep in mind while composting pineapples
1.Always remember to check the acidity of the fruit, and treat it accordingly to kill the acidity, before adding to the compost.
2.Worms and other good microbes will not be affected by composting pineapples. Pineapples are used in vermicomposting.
3.Pineapples require a LOT of moisture to decompose, so make sure you water the compost regularly, to help hasten the decomposition process.
The temperature, too, must be maintained as pineapples require a high level to decompose.
4.Remember, pineapple waste breaks down microbes in the soil, it will, in turn, increase the carbon level in the soil.
It requires copious amounts of oxygen to decompose, so make sure you turn the soil and compost regularly, to allow air to circulate.
5.We read earlier how citrus fruits have a bad rap when it comes to composting, as many believe that the acidity will affect the soil and mess up the pH balance.
Citrus, however, and in turn, the acidity it provides, does help with getting rid of scavengers, pests and parasites that might attack the plant.
6.Pineapple peels, like most citrus peels, have strong scents that repel scavengers and work to your advantage.
They are organic pesticides which, if used correctly with a mind towards balancing out the acidity, help break down oils rapidly and will evaporate before you place the compost in your garden.