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Tomato Leaves as Mulch?  RSS feed

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Okay so I have some tomato plants that are showing some signs of early blight. I have trimmed all lower stems off and I was aiming to burn them once they have dried a bit (but in the meantime, they are relatively close to my potatoes...) but I'm wondering if they could be put to better use as mulch?

I have two blueberry bushes (new this year) in my front yard area, with a house and several outbuildings separating them from the tomatoes and my regular annual vegetable garden.

Do you think I could use these prunings to mulch said blueberry plants?
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Hi Dolly, welcome to Permies.

I do not recommend using diseased plant matter as mulch, as it harbors the disease and can spread it to other plants, compounding the problem. I think the two best ways to get something useful out of diseased plant material is to either burn it thus yielding some ash, or compost it, but only if it's a hot compost pile that gets over 150 degrees Fahrenheit. Sustained temperatures above 150 in compost piles will kill plant diseases, rendering lovely compost gold for use in the garden.
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Likely something your compost pile should be able to take care of. At least that's what I'd do. After it was finished, then bring it back to the bed.
Dolly Bigelow
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Thanks for your replies James and Dan!

I was nervous to add it to my compost as I'm not 100% sure it gets hot enough to kill weeds or diseases. My carbon ratio is on the low side so I've always treated my compost with caution. I really should get one of those handy thermometers to put my mind at ease. I was thinking I could locate the material out of range, but spores travel in mysterious ways so it's better safe than sorry. I may try composting it in a separate composting system and make sure to use it on only a non-tomato non-potato crop next year.
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