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Making potassium supplement from banana skins

Discussion in 'Organic Growing' started by annbrow, Jun 12, 2010.

  1. annbrow

    annbrow Marchantiophyta

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    Heard somewhere that it's possible to make a potassium supplement to use on plants, from banana skins . I have banana skins every day, so - does anyone know how to do this? If drying is part of it, I do have a dehydrator, but I don't know if drying is needed. Any help would be appreciated!
  2. Mike Anders

    Mike Anders Bryophyta

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    Whole plant

    Hi Ann

    Here the whole old plant is just left to dry on top of the ground where it grew. The rotting veg on it will decompose & be taken down into the soil by ants & worms etc. Banana & palm leaves/fronds are used to put on the paddyfields after the rice harvest. Buffalows also help in the process too. Pari's aunty swears by coconut palm fronds & indeed, they usually have a bumper harvest of rice there! This is why bananas & palms are planted around the edge of the paddyfields. They also make a feast for the workers there during planting & harvest. It is considered safer to grow coconuts there because of the falling ripe fruit; many people have been killed by them!

    I use old banana plants to boost the stony soil in my garden. We have been here for 3 years now and it is getting better.
    By leaving the old plants on the top of the soil it acts as a 'sterilisation process'! Any insects are killed by the hot sun. But the plants must be split/chopped up first. I split the bananas right down their whole length.

    MIke A
    firelily99 likes this.
  3. John S

    John S Administrator Staff Member

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    You can make potash by drying the skins, burning them, and leeching the potash out with water through a filter so only water soluble materials move through.

    I would use the banana peels in compost instead. You'll get organic material for your soil and many other nutrients that are within the peel. The potassium will supplied to plant as well.
  4. Gone Tropical

    Gone Tropical Marchantiophyta

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    I stick banana peels in the 'folds' of my staghorn fern...... I am curious, which plants like the extra Potassium? or are all plants out to get as much as possible of it?
  5. John S

    John S Administrator Staff Member

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    Most plants grown for fruit require more potassium than other nutrients. Potassium is a nutrient which is absorbed by plants even if it already has an optimum amount (called luxury consumption).
  6. Gone Tropical

    Gone Tropical Marchantiophyta

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    does overfeeding potassium have negative side effects?
  7. John S

    John S Administrator Staff Member

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    No >10Char
  8. SpringTurtle

    SpringTurtle Marchantiophyta

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    If you have potted fruit trees can you just put the banana peals on the top of the soil and let them dry up, would they provide the potassium in the soil or do the peels need to be chopped up and worked in some?

    Just regular banana peels from bananas from the grocery store?
  9. firelily99

    firelily99 Marchantiophyta

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    Yep, plants aren't fussy, they don't a few decomposing peels in their soil!
  10. hoodoowytch

    hoodoowytch Anthocerotophyta

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    Hmmm...what exactly do plants use the potassium for? I know they need it...just not clear what they use it for. I am nursing some back to health that got a bit over dosed on fertilizer. Would potassium help? I haven't been giving any plant food for the last couple of waterings.
  11. MaMaKat

    MaMaKat Chlorophyta

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    Potassium for blooming plants, Phosphorus (sp) for foliage plants.
  12. John S

    John S Administrator Staff Member

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    Potassium is one of the most abundant nutrients in plants and it's involved in the major functions of plant life. It's required for water, nutrient and energy transportation, photosynthesis, energy use etc.

    Every common fertilizer contains potassium. Your plant already has a lot if you used a lot. On the fertilizer label, potassium is the the third number ( 10-10-10 ).

    The best way to get fertilizer out of soil/medium is to water a lot at once. It will leach salts and nitrates from fertilizers out of the soil.
  13. hoodoowytch

    hoodoowytch Anthocerotophyta

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    Ah, ok. I am using Peter's 20-20-20...so what is causing some of my indoor garden plant's leaves to turn brown at the tips? Pretty sure they are getting plenty of everything, including nitrogen...so what am I missing?

    In fact, when I changed my plant food to the Peter's 20-20-20 to mix some of the worm castings tea with I think I dosed them too much and nearly killed one of my tomato plants. Most have come out of it, and still getting the brown leaf tips.
  14. John S

    John S Administrator Staff Member

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    Do you have any pictures of your plants? It should be easier to tell. Do you let the soil almost dry out between waterings?
  15. hoodoowytch

    hoodoowytch Anthocerotophyta

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    They aren't in soil...they are in an Aerogarden. I don't have any pics...but I should be able to get some when we get another cellphone. (Old cell is dying and doesn't seem to be able to do much of anything properly anymore.:()

    One of them died though. The others seem to finally be coming out of the shock and there doesn't seem to be as many brown tips...but still a few.
  16. John S

    John S Administrator Staff Member

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    Well, I'd assume you have calcium deficiency if you are using 20-20-20. In liquid, phosphorus the middle number 20-20-20, binds with calcium and precipitates leaving it unavailable to the plant. You could try adding calcium nitrate. I would need to see pictures first in order to know.
  17. hoodoowytch

    hoodoowytch Anthocerotophyta

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    Hmmm...calcium...would soaking egg shells in water add the calcium the plants would need? I am really big on trying to do things naturally. The Peter's is ok for most things it seems...but I am still tweaking around and working on making the perfect all purpose, all natural plant food good for any stage of growth.

    I feed my worms plenty of egg shells, but since I am not growing my plants in dirt that seems to be a moot point.
  18. John S

    John S Administrator Staff Member

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    The calcium in eggs is insoluble so it won't work. They do make complete organic fertilizers for hydroponics but the good ones are hard to find online. You'll probably need to find a local company that supplies professionals.
  19. hoodoowytch

    hoodoowytch Anthocerotophyta

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    Yep...found out that it smells bad if you let them soak in water too...no matter how much you washed them before you did the soak. Needless to say...never used that water. Yargh.

    I am wondering...would colloidal trace mineral or vitamin solutions work? I keep those for my own use...would they be soluble enough for plants to use?
  20. John S

    John S Administrator Staff Member

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    They are soluble but they don't contain all of the nutrients needed for plants and they are in such insignificant amounts, it wouldn't do much at all.

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