Gene the Melon Man saves his banana peels all year long, drying them in his garage. Now you know me, I don’t think like a normal person. Immediately, I pictured a clothes line rigged up on the diagonal in his garage with all these banana peels clipped up there with clothes pins. He has five children and I was visualizing a LOT of banana peels strung across the garage.
My imagination had it all wrong. He was drying them on a rack. Gene had several reasons for curing and petrifying his banana peels. He didn’t want the peels to mold, it was the only way to have enough ready for the Spring unless he donned a bandana over his face and held up a grocery store, and it seems banana peels are the very best aphid gitters.
Who among us hasn’t been troubled by aphids in our veggie garden? For Gene, aphids became the bane of his existence. The aphids zeroed in on his peppers then moved on to the tomatoes. “I tried insecticidal soaps, spraying them with water, and anything else that came to mind. Finally, I resorted to some very toxic pesticides which was not my preference.”
Gene said the pesticides worked, sort of, but by the time it killed the aphids, his plants had been through a lot of torture. After a few years of this, he hated aphids with a passion. He began to hear rumors of people using banana peels and although the majority of gardeners scoffed at the idea, Gene was willing to try anything.
He set up a drying rack for his banana peels on top of the freezer in the garage.
His reasoning was quite practical: (1) it saved space, and (2) the freezer generates heat which helps the drying process. Periodically, to make room on the drying rack for more peels, the dried peels are tossed in the basket in front of the rack.
Now, every spring, he takes his banana collection out to the garden and plants two or three in the hole around each plant and fruit tree, just barely under the surface of the dirt. No aphids. None, nada, zip. On one occasion after he began his banana peel regimen, he found aphids up and down the stem of a tomato plant. He added a few more banana peels to the soil then reinspected a week later. A few dead aphids but most had packed up and left voluntarily.
Gene knows that aphids are still in his neighborhood because he hears the neighbors complaining bitterly about them. He always offers up his banana peel solution and, of course, some listen and some scoff.
I thought this was a brilliant idea and mentioned it to Poppie. “Not in my garage, you don’t,” he huffed. I assumed, from his outrage, that this meant all three of his garages were off-limits. He was concerned about enticing an unmentionable creepy crawly that plagues the Southern U.S. The only freezer on the property is in Momma’s laundry room so it wouldn’t have worked anyway. I feel certain that the heat rising off the back of Melon Man’s freezer is doing all the work. Maybe I’ll toss a couple of peels on cake racks over my fridgie and see what happens.
According to Reader’s Digest, you should “bury dried or cut-up banana peels an inch or two deep around the base of the aphid-prone plants. Do not use whole peels or the banana flesh as this will encourage raccoons, squirrels, gophers, and rabbits to dig them up for a tasty treat.” Gene has not had a problem with animals digging up his banana peels because “there’s not much left of a dried up banana peel.” A Mother Earth News reader saves her banana peels in the freezer during the winter and buries them under her rose bushes come spring. Roses love ‘naners.
The four banana peel photos in this article were provided by Gene the Melon Man. He provided additional information in the Comments section.