Can you compost oranges and lemons?

lemon and orange ready for composting

Yes, putting citrus peels into your compost has many benefits. However, if you are vermicomposting, there are certain worms that prefer not to eat citrus, so adding citrus products to your vermicomposting system can slow down the decomposition process in some cases, but in regular composting systems, adding citrus fruit and peels have many benefits and can and should be added to compost instead of being tossed into the trash. 

The strong scent that citrus fruit produces can deter pests, rodents, and other unwanted animals from digging around in your compost pile. The chemical oils that are present in citrus fruit break down very quickly, so there is no danger of the citrus fruit you add to your compost being a threat to beneficial insects in your compost system. When citrus fruit and peels break down, they add all three of the most important nutrients that your soil needs to help plants thrive, phosphorus, nitrogen, and potassium. 

When composting citrus fruit and peels, be sure to cut or tear the peels into small pieces in order to speed up the composting process, as large peels take a long time to break down and can slow down the decomposition process. If the acidity level of your pile increases due to adding in citrus fruit and peels, balance out the acidity by adding in more grass clippings to help maintain a balanced compost mixture. Finally, to keep mold from growing on your citrus peels in your compost, keep your pile’s temperature as hot as possible by turning the pile every few weeks.