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Old 08-31-2008, 03:58 PM
 
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As my garden begins its slow wind-down, I'm wondering which plants should not be placed in the compost pile. I have pumpkins, corn, squash, cucumbers, cantaloupe, watermelon, tomatoes, green beans, rhubarb, and peppers.

I'm thinking the tomatoes and rhubarb. Any other plants that I should avoid composting?
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Old 08-31-2008, 06:33 PM
 
Location: Wisconsin
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As a kid, my parents threw it all in. Also, any vegetable or fruit scraps from the kitchen. As long as it's plant matter, I haven't heard of any issues. Too many pine needles may not be good though, and definitely not meat scraps of any kind.
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Old 08-31-2008, 07:11 PM
 
Location: Alexandria, VA
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I know I've heard NOT tomato plants - not sure about your other plants, sorry. Hopefully, someone knowledgeable will post.
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Old 08-31-2008, 07:14 PM
 
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I think the main problem with tomatoes is that the seeds sprout like crazy. In which case, I would just pull them up and let the new plants compost too.

Since most tomatoes are hybirds, the chance of getting a good plant from these second time around plants might be pretty slim.
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Old 08-31-2008, 09:08 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Padgett2 View Post
I think the main problem with tomatoes is that the seeds sprout like crazy. In which case, I would just pull them up and let the new plants compost too.

Since most tomatoes are hybirds, the chance of getting a good plant from these second time around plants might be pretty slim.
Actually funny you say that. I did throw some tomatoes in last year and yes, I had a few sprout this year. I kept a few, and they are actually producing fruit but it is still green.
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Old 08-31-2008, 09:28 PM
 
Location: Hartwell--IN THE City of Cincinnati
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Here's a great link Basic Information | Composting | US EPA As for seeds, the proper heating of your compost should kill all seeds. Its a good idea to get a thermostat to monitor your composts temp. Enjoy...your hard work will pay off with black gold and happy plants!
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Old 09-01-2008, 02:48 PM
 
Location: Thumb of Michigan
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Quote:
Originally Posted by coolcats View Post
As my garden begins its slow wind-down, I'm wondering which plants should not be placed in the compost pile. I have pumpkins, corn, squash, cucumbers, cantaloupe, watermelon, tomatoes, green beans, rhubarb, and peppers.

I'm thinking the tomatoes and rhubarb. Any other plants that I should avoid composting?

As a poster mentioned about the tomatoes, if all goes well, the heat should kill the seeds. You may get a sprout from time to time, but that can be easily plucked.

Corn cobs take forever to compost. I personally leave 'em out and burn the cobs along with stalks. Others shred 'em with the shredder and then throw 'em in the compost. To each their own...

Pine needles are o.k to compost, but not too many. It's the same principle with ashes; a minute ratio is needed to composting methods.
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Old 09-01-2008, 08:13 PM
 
Location: McKinleyville, California
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Your compost heap will only get hot if you keep a steady supply of either green waste or animal manure going in and frequently turning the pile. Turn the heap at least twice a week and lightly moisten it between the layers. I have had my compost heaps get to over 165 degrees in the core. I am a gardener and have 9 yards that I bring grass clippings and leaves from. I also have 4 rabbits and 30 chickens for the manure. If you do not have manure or a steady source of green clippings, buy a bag of cheap rabbit food or alfalfa pellets from your feed store and sprinkle it between the layers of your compost heap. Layer it like a cake with the manure as the fillings. Also a small heap will lose its heat and moisture rapidly, a good size is 4 feet wide at the base and 3 to 4 feet hight. I make mine like a volcano is shape, I use a metal spike to pierce holes into the heap, it allows heat to move throughout the heap.. I can turn manure, clippings, food scraps, weeds and leaves into rich, dark and crumbly compost in less than three weeks.
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Old 09-01-2008, 08:50 PM
 
Location: In the Pearl of the Purchase, Ky
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A few years back I had just a very small garden. Instead of raking the leaves in the fall, I have always just mulched them with my mower and leave them there. That one year I hauled the mulched leaves to the garden, then went to a horse stable for a few wash tubs of manure. I spread that over the top of the leaves them put my tiller to work. Didn't do anything else to it Ground was ready the next spring!
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Old 09-02-2008, 08:28 AM
 
Location: Philaburbia
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The issue with tomato plants is the fungi (fusarium wilts, etc.) that may perpetuate in the compost heap.

The tomatoes themselves shouldn't pose a problem unless you're a lazy composter like I am -- I incorporated compost into a newly tilled flower garden this spring, and wound up with dozens of tomato plants!
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