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Can I Compost Potato plants/tops?

(From the Garden waste category | 3 comments - join the conversation)

potato-plantsLike their relative, tomato plants, the jury is out on whether or not to compost potato plants (aka potato haums or potato tops) – the leaves and other matter left over after you’ve collected the spuds.

They are, of course, just vegetable matter and will rot down fairly quickly. However, like tomato plants, they can harbour diseases/fungal spores that are not completely broken down by the composting cycle, thus potentially damaging future crops. (Not just future potato crops but anything in the Solanaceae family, which include aubergines and peppers as well as tomatoes.)

Little tiny tubers left on the plant also have a tendency to regrow in the warm, nutrient rich conditions of a compost heap – some people like these “volunteer” plants but others think the inconvenience and risk of disease just isn’t worth it.

Many grow-your-own people burn them rather than composting them and some allotment associations have special bins for collecting this type of risky green waste.

In brief, yes, they can technically be composted but in basic heaps, it’s probably not worth the risk.

Also see: Can I Compost Potatoes?


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3 Comments

  1. thanks,it was very helpful information.

  2. I personally compost all my green waste, however I do not include any diseased
    Plant material.
    Now that the EU. Has decided to ban copper sulphate, no control of blight.
    The alternative is to include dodgy material to landfill, an anathema to me
    As I consider myself to be a consistent re-cycler.

  3. Thank you, this should help to put to bed a daily disscution on our site.

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