Can lemons go in compost?

QUESTION: Can lemons go in compost?

ANSWER: Yes, lemons and lemon peels are great additions to the compost pile. If you are vermicomposting, lemons and other citrus fruit should be left out of the mix, as some worms will not eat citrus fruits, which will slow the decomposition process, but in traditional compost systems, lemons and other citrus fruits can be tossed into the mix without hesitation. 

Though citrus fruits are very acidic and can alter the pH of your compost, adding citrus fruit to your compost pile also has several important benefits. The strong smell of lemons and other citrus fruits will deter pests and animals. The chemical oils in citrus fruits break down very quickly, so there is no threat to beneficial insects. As they decompose, citrus fruit adds phosphorus, nitrogen, and potassium to your compost, helping boost the nutritional content of your pile. Lemons and lemon peels should be considered green compost material. 

Cut lemons and especially lemon peels into small pieces before adding to compost to help speed up the decomposition process. If your compost’s acidity levels increase, add alkaline ingredients such as grass clippings to help balance out the mixture. To keep mold from growing on the citrus peels while they are decomposing, keep your compost pile hot by actively turning it every few weeks.

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