What is composting of tomatoes? How to compost while knowing the risks?


Composting is an important habit that all backyard farmers should get into. Because your land is getting better, you use less artificial fertilizer. Keeping a trash pile helps you have less of an effect on the environment.

About composting tomato seedlings, there will almost always be an argument. At the end of the growing season, you’ll probably have a lot of old tomato seedlings that need to be pulled out of the yard.

Many people say that composting used tomatoes is the worst thing that could happen. Some people say it’s a waste to throw away tomato stems.

In reality, there is some truth to the objections. Compost Tomato plants are quite dangerous. But you can safely recycle your old tomatoes if you follow a few simple rules and do a thorough risk assessment.

What is composting?

Compost is made of organic materials that break down in the soil to improve the soil’s structure. You can learn more about how composting works by looking at how things break down in nature.

For instance, forests are full of plants and other living things. With the help of microorganisms and earthworms, these things break down over time. When the materials have broken down enough, they become compost. It is a key part of making rich, fruitful soil that also grows strong plants.

The same thing happens in gardens when they compost. When the composting process is done, the pile should look like hummus. It contains a black, grainy soil-like substance.

Composting tomato plants

Composting tomato plants can be a bit controversial. Some people do it every year without any problems, while others get angry at the thought of burning them.

Even though the plants will break down into vegetable matter, it’s probably best to avoid them in a simple yard compost pile. The stems of tomato vines can be a bit tough, which means they don’t break down as quickly as everything else (some people combat this by shredding them first).

Also, if you leave the seeds from stray tomatoes on the vines when you compost, rogue plants may grow wherever you spread the compost. If the tomatoes weren’t good enough to pick, it’s likely that their offspring won’t be either.

But most simple compost piles won’t get hot enough to kill any diseases or mold/fungal germs that the plant might be hiding. Some problems can stay in the trash for years, putting future crops at risk.

Potatoes, bell peppers, chili peppers, aubergines, and eggplants, are all members of the Solanaceae (nightshade) family. They all are especially vulnerable. So, to sum up, tomato plants can be composted. if you’re new to composting, it’s best to avoid doing so.

What to do with old tomato soil?

When deciding whether to use your old tomato plant soil for composting, there are a few things to think about. You can decide whether or not to reuse tomato soil based on the following factors:

  • The pH of the soil
  • How much organic matter it has
  • How much nutrition it has,
  • Whether or not bugs have grown there.

You can use old tomato soil for composting if it’s full of minerals, mostly acidic, and free of bugs. If it doesn’t, you might need to make a few small changes to the soil to make it better for growing tomatoes.

What is the risk while composting potatoes?

Can you compost tomato plants? True, it can be hard to reuse tomato seedlings. Many people would rather throw away their plants and not do this at all. It is because if it’s done wrong, it can cause a lot of problems the next season.

Some of the risks of composting these plants are the spread of disease. The growth of unwanted seedling plants, and the inability of plant matter to break down quickly.

When tomato plants are composted, they spread disease and pollute the air. Since many tomato diseases come from the soil, this is one of the main reasons why tomato plants shouldn’t be recycled.

This reasoning doesn’t take into account, how likely it is that the wind from the neighborhood brings diseases into the yard. Farmers who find sick plants in their vegetable plots should be careful to make sure they are composted properly. In most cases, this shouldn’t mean throwing them in the trash.

In general, giving the compost pile enough time, water, and “brown and green” matter. Same as raising the temperature and turning the mound to keep enough air. It all helps break down and kill any germs in the pile. Unfortunately, this doesn’t happen in a year.

During the first year, pathogens continue to feed on the host plant as it starts to break down in the waste mound. Because the pH is dropping, there are lots of both “good” and “bad” fungi at this point.

After two years, the mound has only broken down halfway, and the germs are suffering from a lack of new plant material. This is the important step; don’t add any plant matter during the second year of composting.

At this point, there are more types of bacteria because the pH is starting to go down. Your manure is now ready to use in your yard after three years when the amount of bacteria and fungus particles is close to zero and the same as in the environment.

In large-scale horticulture operations, farmers control many diseases by rotating crops. They also dig up any infected plants to stop them from spreading. As soon as you put sick plants in the decomposition mound, it is a good idea to cover them. This is because spores in the waste can move around.

Common diseases with tomato plants

  • Late blight, a type of water-loving mold that comes from the soil, infects tomato plants by sending out its seeds, which are carried by the wind. Germs need water to live, so a single dry, sunny day is enough to kill them.
  • Septoria leaf spot and early blight are two fungi that attack tomato plants and their spores
  • Tomato leaf mildew is caused by a fungus called Cladosporium fulvum. The spores that are carried by the wind need water and living plants to grow, but the fungi can live for up to a year in seeds or dead plants.
  • Bacterial wilt can be spread by infected water or sucking insects, but not by wind. According to research, a good way to stop bacterial wilt in the summer is to lower the pH of the waste mound to between 4 and 5. The amino acids that form in the compost pile cause the pH to drop. Adding oak leaves and pine needles can lower pH even more, while anaerobic decomposition can cause a big drop in pH.

How to Compost Tomato Plants Effectively?

So, it should be clear that composting tomatoes is a hard thing to do. For your tomato plants to die, they must be healthy, without any seeds left, and small enough.

First, check your plants for bugs and diseases. Any sign, whether it can be proven or not, should mean that your tomatoes can’t be composted. Only if your compost pile gets hot enough to kill diseases like spotted wilt virus and curled top virus on your tomato plants can they be decomposed.

The compost pile that is stacked, wet, and heat should be about 135°F. This makes sure that the harmful germs are gone and that the rest of your yard isn’t hurt. It’s much safer to not burn tomato plants with diseases, even if they might go away because there are a lot of factors that can cause diseases to go away and their end is not guaranteed.

Always cut your healthy tomato plants in half before you throw them away. The plant will break down faster if the pieces are smaller and your manure mound is well taken care of.

If you’re new to composting or growing tomatoes, it’s best not to put tomato seedlings in your waste pile. You will spread your manure all over your yard.


Composting is a must for all farmers. It feels good and helps the earth. Who would say no to that? Adding tomato seedlings to your collection doesn’t come with many risks, but they could be a great asset. You have to decide what the situation is like.

Keep note that always pick any berries that are still on your plants and divide them. Don’t ever throw away sick plants. Keep a decomposition mound that is warm, clean, and well-kept.

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