How to Compost Citrus Rinds


Composting turns green waste into a rich and dark soil amendment that can increase your garden plants' health and improve the condition of your soil. All types of green waste can be composted, including citrus rinds, but the latter must get treated appropriately to counteract the slow decomposition rate of citrus. With a little patience, you can turn your citrus rinds into a nutritious amendment to feed your hungry plants.

Step 1

Select a site for your compost pile. If you are using a composting bin, skip to Step 2. For the best results, choose an open, flat area with well-drained soil that's shielded from wind and away from direct sunlight, according to the University of Illinois. Clear away any surface vegetation, and map out an area on the ground that's 3 to 5 square feet. The university says this is the best size for a compost pile for the backyard gardener.

Step 2

Spread a 3- to 4-inch layer of chopped, dried coarse matter, such as leaves or straw, on the bottom of your compost pile or compost bin.

Step 3

Shred the citrus rinds into small slivers. The finer you shred the rinds, the better. Citrus rinds take a long time to decompose and shouldn't be added to compost unless they are chopped up, according to North Carolina State University. Chopping increases the rinds' surface area, thus accelerating the decomposition time.

Step 4

Add the citrus rinds in a layer on top of the dried matter, along with other moist organic matter such as grass clippings and trimmings from your garden. Ohio State University recommends that you make this second layer 6 to 8 inches thick.

Step 5

Place an inch of soil on top of the citrus rinds and other moist organic content. Repeat steps 2 through 5 until the compost pile is 3 to 5 feet tall, according to the University of Illinois.

Step 6

Wait for four weeks and then turn the compost pile with a pitchfork, according to Ohio State University. Mix up the contents so that the outer matter is in the center of the pile, and vice versa. Repeat every four weeks until the compost is finished. Finished compost has a crumbly texture and a dark brown or black color.

Things You'll Need

  • Pitchfork
  • Composting material
  • Soil


  • "Mike McGrath's Book of Compost"; Mike McGrath; 2006
  • Ohio State University: Composting at Home
  • North Carolina State University: Composting
  • University of Illinois: Building Your Compost Pile

Who Can Help

  • Organic Gardening Magazine: Compost Ingredients
Keywords: compost citrus rinds, composting citrus peels, building compost piles

About this Author

Josh Duvauchelle is an editor and journalist with more than 10 years' experience. His work has appeared in various magazines, including "Honolulu Magazine," which has more paid subscribers than any other magazine in Hawaii. He graduated with honors from Trinity Western University, holding a Bachelor of Arts in professional communications, and earned a certificate in applied leadership and public affairs from the Laurentian Leadership Centre.