Peanut Shells in Compost – Why it is Good & How to Compost?

For the growth of a plant, compost is an essential factor. With a lot of variety of things a gardener can use for composting, peanut shells are good option for composting these days.  If you are curious to know if ou can use peanut shells in compost, you can keep reading !

What is Composting?

To understand the uses and benefits of peanut shells in composting, we have to first understand at composting is and other things relevant to this.

Composting is a natural process that recycles the organic matter such as food waste or leaves to turn them into essential fertilizers. Anything that has ever grown will decompose one time or another. Composting just helps to provide an environment sot that this decomposing process takes lesser time.

The last decomposed thing that looks like some fertile soil is what we call ‘compost’. Sometimes farmers call it as ‘black gold’. It is higher in nutrients and farmers can use them gardening or agriculture.

Using compost in your garden can be very effective. It adds moisture to the soil, helps to grow useful bacteria and fungi, it helps to fight the plant diseases and against the pests. It also promotes sustainability.

The versatile peanut shell can be an important addition to your compost as a brown ingredient.

Can You Use Peanut Shells as Compost?

Whether you can use peanut shells as compost depends on where are you residing now?  In Southern United States people believe that peanut shells in compost can spread Southern Blight and other fungal diseases. As Southern Blight is harmful and can damage the soil so in Southern United State people avoid using peanut shells in compost.

But for other part of the world, it is not an issue to use peanut shells in compost. But some report suggests that Northern part was also facing some problems because of peanut shells in their compost.

Are peanut Shells Good as Compost?

Peanut shells are quite good for mulching. They are a great source of Nitrogen, Potassium and Phosphorus which are important minerals for any plants. Peanut shell can add carbon which is a great source of energy for the micro-organisms that helps to break down the compost.

How to Compost Peanut Shells?

The process of composting peanut shell is comparatively easy and simple. Here we will discuss about all the steps in details:

Identifying the Best Category of Peanut Shells

  • Firstly you have to check the quality of the peanut shells. If the shells are infected or are not of good quality, they will not make some good compost. Other than that, they can contribute to the plant disease originated from the roots. So you have to get rid of the infected peanut shell first. You have to be careful to choose the peanut shells of good quality.

Grounding the Peanut Shells

  • After choosing the peanut shells correctly you have to ground or crush them. Peanut shells are little tough on the outside. So to help them decompose faster it is better to ground them or crush them. We can do this in several ways. You can just put them on some flat surface and walk on them. Again, you can put them in some zip locked plastic bag and roll them.

Soaking the Peanut Shells in Water

  • When your peanut shells are completely crushed you have to soak them in water for at least 12 hours. As the peanut shells tends to be little dry, so wetting these shells in water help to decompose the peanut shells faster into the compost paste.  Nevertheless, please do not forget to change the water after some time. Sometimes the peanut shells are salted. So changing water from time to time help to reduce the saltiness from water.

Mixing Peanut Shells With Other Things

  • Next mix these peanut shells with any other browns you would like to compost and layer greens to cover these browns. Finally cover the compost with garden soil and water genteelly.

Preserving the Peanut Shells Correctly

  • Covering and storing the compost in any shady area helps to keep the compost moisture as it decomposes with time.

The Final Step

  • Finally, when your compost turns into dark brown and has a crumbly texture, it is suitable to use now to nourish your garden.

Why Some People are Against Using Peanut Shells?

Some people are against to use peanut shells in their compost. They feel that when using peanut shells into their compost it tend to dry out. Some fear that peanut shells carry harmful stuffs that may harm the plants.

Some people feel that they level of nitrogen in peanut shell is comparatively low. So it will not do good to plants . Rather because of low level of nitrogen, it may take more time to decompose.

Other Considerations

We cannot deny the fact that peanut shells are common carrier of different bacteria and fungi. These affect the growth of any plants.  A extension horticulturist B. Dean McGraw, from Texas A&M University, warns people in southern part against using peanut shells. The climate in southern part involves some factors that can cause harm in plants if peanut shells are used in compost.


  • When choosing the peanut shells, be sure to get rid of the infected ones as they may carry bacteria and other harmful insects.
  • As peanut shells are drier on outside, you have to use enough water to soak them before decomposing them.
  • Salts are very harmful for the plants . It kills plants. So never use salted peanut shells in compost. Or try to get rid of the saltiness from the peanut shells before using them in compost.
  • You can add some cottonseed meal to the peanut shells so that they can decompose easily and it will prevent the peanut shells from compacting after a rain.


In brief, we can say that peanut shells are a good option to use in compost. But we have to re-consider all the facts related to this.

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