Composting is a beneficial habit that many home gardeners should adopt. It improves the quality of your soil and eliminates the need for chemical fertilizers.
Having a compost heap reduces your carbon footprint even further. It’s an absolute must-have for every garden.
You can almost always count on a heated argument when it comes to composting tomato plants. You’ll probably have a lot of old tomato plants in the garden towards the end of the season.
Composting used tomatoes is frowned upon by many. Others argue that tossing your tomato vines into a landfill is a waste of resources. The truth is that the objections are not without merit.
It is extremely dangerous to compost tomato plants. You can safely compost your spent tomatoes if you follow a few easy rules and conduct an informed risk assessment.
Can You Compost Tomatoes?
Yes, this is the case. Tomato plants can be composted if they are free of bacterial or fungal problems. Spotted wilt virus and curly top virus do not persist for long on a dead tomato plant, thus these plants can be composted.
However, before putting the dead plant material in the compost pile, it’s also a good idea to split it up into tiny bits. It’s critical to manage your compost pile properly if you want to break down your old tomatoes.
A compost pile must be correctly stacked, kept moist, and maintained at a constant interior temperature of at least 135 degrees F to complete its work (57 C.).
Garden wastes, clippings, tiny twigs, and other organic materials should make up the base layer of any compost pile.
Animal dung, fertilizers, or starters should be used as the second layer to raise the interior temperature.
A layer of soil should be applied on the top of the pile to introduce helpful microorganisms.
When the temperature dips below 110 degrees F, turn the pile (43 C.). Turning helps the breakdown by introducing air and mixing the materials.
Read also: Is Peat Moss Good for Tomatoes?
Risks Of Composting Tomatoes
To be sure, composting tomato plants can be difficult. If done incorrectly, it can cause a slew of problems the next season, which is why many people prefer to toss their plants and avoid the technique altogether.
Composting these plants poses various dangers, including the spread of disease, the establishment of unwanted new plants, and insufficient decomposition of plant waste.
Let’s take a look at each of these, followed by some suggestions for efficiently managing your compost pile.
To begin, we must comprehend the dangers of tossing tomato plants into your compost heap. The biggest danger is the increased likelihood of disease spreading.
Any disease that has clung to your tomato plant could infect your compost pile and spread to the rest of your garden.
This is particularly true of common diseases such as late and early blight. Even if you preserve and organize your compost pile, some pathogens can nevertheless infect your plants.
Some of the most dangerous illnesses include fusarium wilt, verticillium wilt, and bacterial canker.
This, of course, includes pests. Many insects like eating tomatoes almost as much as we do.
They frequently cling to each other for dear life. You may be in for a world of difficulties if they get into your compost pile while napping on your tomato vines.
It’s also vital to know that the composting process doesn’t always eliminate tomato seeds when it comes to fruits.