“Every oak tree started out as a couple of nuts who stood their ground.” -Anonymous
Yes, we may be “composting nuts” but this post is actually about composting nuts, you know, walnuts, pistachios, and almonds. More specifically about composting their shells since we will likely be eating the nuts.
That’s a Tough Nut to Crack
Nuts are supposed to be tough. They are built to withstand forces of nature like torrential rain storms, freezing temperatures, and squirrels.
As you might imagine, whole (unshelled) nuts take a long time to break down (and may even sprout) in your compost bin.
So, the first rule of nut composting is EAT YOUR NUTS. Raw, glazed, on a salad, in cookies, whatever. Crack ‘em, eat ‘em, and then compost the shells.
Nuts and BoltsNut shells are high in carbon, so be sure to balance with high nitrogen material like food scraps. Also, know that nut shells take a while to break down so you may need to screen them out once or twice.
But if a few pistachio shells incorporated in your soil with your finished compost drives you nuts, you probably need a new perfectionist-friendly hobby. Like building tiny ships in a bottle.
Warning: May Contain Traces of Nuts
I issue two warnings regarding Black Walnuts and salted peanuts.
- Use caution when composting Black Walnuts. These are the native walnuts that look like green tennis balls on the ground not the English walnuts you buy in the store.
- If you enjoy unshelled salted peanuts, beware. Too much salt in your compost is a bad idea which you will add if the peanut shells are still salted. Rinse the salt off in the sink before adding to your compost.
Have you ever composted nut shells? How long did it take them to break down?