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Can kitchen wastes (like potato peels, onion skins, orange rinds, egg shells, tea inside tea bags etc) be used as manure? If so, how to use them? 

Right now, I'm just dumping them in soil, which I feel is a wrong way to do this. Apart from looking like garbage, it takes a long time to degrade. I wonder whether they degrade at all, or just get buried in mud while watering. 

Will it cause any damage to the plants? Is dumping them on soil considered okay? Or should they be treated in some way before dumping them on soil? 

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Composting can be fun and is addictive...learn more of it – ViSu Mar 25 '15 at 9:52
Well no... because it is not manure. :P But compost sure. – nportelli Mar 25 '15 at 14:29
up vote 13 down vote accepted

You should compost them before dumping them in soil. The food waste is not degraded and bacteria/bugs in soil will try to degraded some while releasing bad smell. Also it doesn't look good and require a long time to degrade too. I should warn you, there will be plenty of bugs if you just dump the food to the soil.

Learn how to compost, you can search up this site about composting. I believe there are plenty of question about composting.

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Yes compost first. As well as reducing the smell and bugs, uncomposted food will attract rodents and larger pests. I know our dog would find it irresistible! – winwaed Sep 2 '11 at 11:54
Sure, will do. Thanks for the comment. :) – Sheshbabu Sep 2 '11 at 13:03
I rolled this back because I don't think the nutrient depletion comment added during the edit was correct. If you want to add information like that, I think it would be better to post this in a separate answer. – bstpierre Sep 3 '11 at 0:08

You can use kitchen wastes in a similar way to what you're doing. It's called trench composting:

  • Dig a hole about a foot deep.
  • Add your kitchen scraps.
  • Bury with the soil from the hole.

They will break down over time.

Now with that said, there are ways you can improve the process. Kitchen scraps are typically mostly nitrogen, and if you can balance it out with some carbon (leaves, straw, wood chips, sawdust, dried out garden wastes, etc) then the composting process will proceed more quickly.

The major risk with any process like this is if you have animals around that will try to get into the kitchen scraps. (And this is true for any composting process that isn't fully enclosed; I've had skunks dig up scraps from under 2-3' of horse manure.)

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If you do not have room for a full compost pit, consider a worm compost box. There are many ready made plastic worm composters you can buy online or if you are handy you can make them out of wood. This has the added benefit of being better protected from pests like raccoon or skunk than simply trying to open air compost. It also gives you worm castings, which are excellent for your soil and as the worms multiply you can occasionally relocate some to garden areas to help your soil.

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