KC Gardens

Tomato plants in compost pile


Why do people always caution against putting tomato plants in the compost pile? (I do it all the time, just wondering what the rationale is?) - Tina -


  1. 6 months, 1 week ago

    The rationale is that the compost pile might not be hot enough to kill any disease pathogens, thus leading to the possibility of spreading diseases the next year. Additionally, if the pile is not hot enough, some tomato seeds might not be killed, in which case you would have volunteers the following year.

    It all depends on how hot the compost pile is. If you haven’t had a problem with tomato diseases, then you are doing everything right.

    Happy composting,

    Carole Johnson County Extension Master Gardener

  2. 6 months, 1 week ago

    Well if that’s the only reasoning, I don’t see why I can’t use my plants in the compost. There was no disease — but I’m sure I’ll get a lot of volunteers next year! If I weeded out every diseased leaf that goes into my compost bins, I’d never have time for anything else. But if the plants had mosaic virus or verticillium wilt, a disease that serious, I’d burn them. Thanks, Carole!

  3. 6 months, 1 week ago

    Great point that if disease free you could add. But any disease that could spread by spores or infected material best left out of the bin. Dennis

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