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Can I Compost Tomato plants?

(From the Garden waste category | 2 comments - join the conversation)

tomato-plantsComposting tomato plants is a bit of a contentious subject: some people do it every year without problem but the thought of composting them makes other people smash things in a rage.

The plants are, obviously, just vegetable matter so they will compost down but in a basic garden compost heap, it’s probably better to avoid them.

Tomato vine stems can be a bit tough, so don’t break down as quickly as everything else around it (some people combat this by shredding them first) and seeds from stray tomatoes left on the vines at the time of composting might lead to rogue plants cropping up wherever you spread the compost – if they weren’t worth picking, chances are their children won’t be either.

Most importantly though, most basic compost heaps won’t get hot enough to come close to killing diseases or mould/fungal spores that the plant maybe harbouring. Some problems can linger in the compost for several years, potentially causing serious damage to future crops – not just tomatoes but other plants in the Solanaceae (nightshade) family too (including potatoes, bell peppers and chilli peppers, and aubergines/egg plants).

So in brief, you can compost tomato plants but if you’re new to composting, you’d probably be best not doing so.

Also see: Can I Compost Tomatoes?

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  1. Yes. Nice article. Tomato plant can be used as compost. But It need time to make a good compost. Any compost preparation it takes time.In the world we need to go for organic agriculture if we want to survive.

  2. I have composted my tomato plants for many years without any obvious problems and use resultant compost mainly for growing tomatoes, cucumbers and courgettes. I only compost good plants and discard any affected ones.
    I always cut them up into small pieces. I am a “lazy” composter and do not adopt a strict routine except that I add a good mix of materials but do not bother to keep turning the heap over in the bins.
    I have never composted potato haums as my father before me used to burn them because of possible blight contamination ( which I know can also affect tomatoes and others ).

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