The skin and shell of a peanut

(Question)

I live in Toronto (zone 10) and was wondering if I can use both the skin of the peanut and the shell of the peanut to provide nutrients to the soil?

i.e. I guess both the skin and the shell will decompose in the soil and then the nutrients from both will give the soil the nutrients it needs.

(Answer)

This is an interesting question. Rather than adding the nuts and shells directly to the soil, both nuts and shells may be composted. The City of Toronto’s list of items for backyard composters includes peanut hulls. The University of Missouri Extension website says that peanut shells, which are described as “fibrous agricultural byproducts”, may be crushed and used as soil conditioners, while in their coarse state they are fine as mulching. Some American resources caution that, especially in the southern states, peanut shells should not be used as mulch because they can harbour serious fungal diseases, which we, in a more northerly climate, would not expect to find.

Peanuts are legumes, rather than nuts, but they are treated the same way as nuts in terms of composting.  Because they grow underground, they are designed not to rot easily, but if they are crushed slightly, they will decompose more quickly. You may be interested in this website, which provides some more detail:

http://www.gardeningknowhow.com/composting/ingredients/nut-shells-in-compost.htm