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what to do with garden waste on a balcony

 
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Hi,

so I grew my first vegetables in plastic containers on my balcony in Switzerland. Now the plants are dead (tomatoes, peppers, etc), what should I do with all the dead plants and rootballs? I don't have space for a big compost tumbler on my balcony, can I just mix the dead plants with bokashi and seal them in a container and in a few weeks they are fermented, or do I just chop them up and mix them into the soil of my plastic containers, and that will be fine, or what can you suggest? Any help is greatly appreciated.

Diana
 
gardener
Posts: 4317
Location: Missoula, MT US Hardy:5a Annual Precipitation: 15" Wind:4.2mph Temperature:18-87F
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Are you sure they are completely dead? How did they die? In my little container garden, some ants and some type of fungi beat a squash down to the roots, but after a little dormancy, or plant devising a counterattack, the squash returned in about two to three weeks.

I think either way would work. I think caring for them as usual for a little bit might be helpful in case the roots are still alive.
 
pollinator
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Location: Vermont, off grid for 24 years!
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How about a worm farm?
 
Diana Wais
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Thank you for your reply. I looked into getting a worm farm, but I have a bit of a space problem. I heard the worms need to be indoors over the winter, and I have just a very small flat. Do dried out garden plants make good mulch? I am not sure though, if some of the plants died early because of some fungus, so would that then contaminate the soil of my pots?
 
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Do you have room under your bed or in a closet?....I heard of people using those locations..........do you have a community garden nearby? perhaps you can donate to their compost pile if you dont want worms.
 
Dave Burton
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I'm not sure if it would contaminate them or not. Instead of doing anything, letting the elements handle the decomposition would be the easiest thing to do.
 
pollinator
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Location: West Yorkshire, UK
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I treated my big plastic planters like mini hugels last spring: wood and compost underneath, garden soil/potting soil mix on top. That year I grew tomatoes in them in my greenhouse. When they died, I chopped up the plants quite small and just put the pieces on top of the potting soil in the planters they came from and left them all winter. This spring there were still some fibrous pieces, but the soft leafy bits had broken down quite well. I planted new plants in them without changing the potting soil or disturbing it as much as possible; I planted two tomatoes, some chard and leafy greens, and some cucumber and pumpkins--though the pumpkins got a 2 inch layer of chicken manure in their pots before planting. The tomatoes were twice as flavorful this year as they were last, and everything else produced quite well. In fact, everything is still producing except the cucumbers--I'm waiting for the pumpkins to turn fully orange.

So basically, I didn't touch the pots after the plants had died, but chopped and dropped the dead plants straight down and let them compost in place, and replanted in spring.
 
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