Wednesday, August 1, 2012

When Composting is the (Fruit) Pits

(Singing) It’s the most won-der-ful time of the year…for fruit lovers like me anyway. Few can resist a perfectly ripe peach or a bowl of sweet red cherries. But what happens to all of those seeds or pits? Will they break down in a compost bin?

Yes…eventually. Stone fruits like peaches, cherries, nectarines, apricots, and plums, as well as some other fruits like avocados, mangos, and olives have rock hard pits that do not compost easily. They can withstand floating across the sea and passing through the guts of animals so your compost bin doesn’t really intimidate them.

But that doesn’t mean you should give up.

These tough fruit pits take a few years to decompose in the compost bin but they will eventually break down. When you screen your finished compost you’ll find these seeds along with eggshells as some of the last holdouts. Just toss them back into the bin for another year.

But what if you don’t screen them out and that peach pit ends up being planted with your newly spread compost? Well, there are worse weeds than a volunteer peach tree. Heck, let it grow for a few years and you could be picking your own fresh peaches.

Now that really is just peachy.

If patience is not your best virtue, you could soak the seeds in water to speed up the decomposition process. Discarded boiling water (like when you strain spaghetti) will soften the pits even more.

Of course, there are lots of creative folks out there coming up with alternative uses for seeds rather than composting. Here are a few ideas:

Grow new trees

Use as a filling in bean bags and heating pads

Make your own natural jewelry

Can you think of other uses for tough fruit pits?


  1. I put mine in a part of the yard that the dirt regularly washes out of-a hole. So when the pits are there, the dirt can stay better and th hole "plugs"! A great hole-filler is pistachio shells!

    1. That's a great idea! I'll have to try it next time I find a hole in my yard.

  2. What about sunsweet prunes? The individual wrapped ones?

    1. Yes, just make sure you bury them and don't include the wrapper. :)

  3. Will cherry pits hurt my lawn? Will my grass still grow?

  4. I knew a man who dried and carved them into little monkeys(really!) He made key chains. Artistic? Dry a few peach pits!
    Or, how about cracking with a nut cracker to speed things up? DO NOT eat the kernels inside!!

  5. Hey Anonymous--a friend of my father's used to carve peach pits and put them on chains for me and my sister to wear as necklaces. He made a basket for my sister and asked me what I wanted. Naturally I said a monkey (Lost in Space was popular at the time) and next time we saw him he gave me a monkey on a chain! I wonder if it was the same gentleman?