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What do you do with your dead plants??

September 12, 2018

I was looking into buying a small wood chipper but after reading many reviews a chipper sounds like a bad idea. Most reviews say green or semi green plants do not chip well and even clog the blades. Just wondering what people do or have do in the past to be green! thanks

Comments (13)

  • floral_uk z.8/9 SW UK

    They go on the compost heap as they are. Brassica stems get chopped up a bit with the spade but otherwise I don’t do anything to them.

  • digdirt2

    Same here - compost piles. Anything that can easily be broken into smaller pieces - great - do it. Otherwise they go as is.

    A machete and a tree stump chopping block work great. ;-)


  • jacoblockcuff (z6 NW Arkansas - Hz7 - Sunset z35)

    I’m afraid I don’t understand why a wood chipper is necessary....We are talking vegetable garden waste right? As for getting rid of mine, some crops get dug straight into the ground, others go on the compost heap, depending on the plant and if I’m planning to plant anything afterwards. As said above, a machete or hatchet is great for chopping up tough plants that would take forever to compost whole.

  • daninthedirt (USDA 8a, HZ10, Cent TX, Sunset z30)

    A lawnmower is a handy shredder. Really the only one you should need. Make a pile, and spend a few minutes mowing over it. Stir, mow, stir, and mow some more. We're not talking branches. Stems and leaves. Shredding greatly speeds up composting.

  • susanzone5 (NY)

    If plants are diseased I throw them in the trash. If they are weeds with seedheads they get thrown in the forest (I live in the woods). Everything else gets composted.

  • vgkg Z-7 Va

    I also use a machete to chop up some garden waste like sweet potato vines, broccoli & cabbage remains, and corn stalks before tossing them into the compost piles. For dying tomato plants and weeds that have gone to seed for those I put just them in the trash.

  • LoneJack Zn 6a, KC

    Tomatoes which are usually diseased by the end of the season go into a 'trash pile' away from the garden. Brassicas are chopped up and composed. Healthy peppers I usually feed to the chickens who love the leaves but I'm down to one chicken now so I might just throw them in the tomato pile. I need to start a new compost pile soon for the fall leaves and garden refuse.

  • daninthedirt (USDA 8a, HZ10, Cent TX, Sunset z30)

    Just a caveat. If your compost pile is big enough that you can do real "hot composting", then diseased plants are fine. But you need to stir, to make sure the cool outer parts of the pile get exposed to the heat inside.

    A wood chipper is a fine idea if you have lots of wood. Use it for what it's supposed to be used for.

    If you hack the thick brassica stems into chunks, the lawnmower will deal with them nicely.

    I'm presuming that the intent of a chipper was for composting. But if you don't compost (and you should!) just trash the lot.

  • digdirt2

    Agree with Dan that what goes into the pile in terms of diseased plants or seeds depends on how you compost - hot and active or cold and passive.


  • zeedman Zone 5 Wisconsin

    All diseased plants are thrown into the burn pit as they are discovered, and burned when dry (or sooner, if there is already dry material there). After the frost, I remove all posts, stakes, & cages, then mow all vegetation (along with Autumn leaves & the remaining mulch) and turn it under. The debris decomposes quickly enough that I've never seen the need to compost outside the garden... and in my area, a compost heap would just turn into a mouse nest.

  • daninthedirt (USDA 8a, HZ10, Cent TX, Sunset z30)

    Actually, in situ composting makes a lot of sense. Especially if there is majority of "brown", and the greens have been left to degrade somewhat. I used to just bury a load of uncomposted fallen leaves in my beds, and that actually worked pretty well, except the volume of organics that you can incorporate is smaller than you can with properly composted stuff. But properly shredded uncomposted leaves will do the trick as well. My soil temps are kinda high, so in situ composting works especially well here.

  • wayne_5 zone 6a Central Indiana

    I too do situ composting. Some things like sweetcorn and tomatoes I chop up into smallish pieces. After they dry a bit I chop them up some more with a mower. Why drag stuff around? I next till things in a bit before sowing a cover crop or after adding some organic matter

  • Shule

    What I like to do is let them dry out, and then burn them. Beware, though: they smell just like tobacco when burned (that makes a certain amount of sense, though, since they are in the same family). I like to burn them for the ashes and the quick disposal. Dry tomato vines burn fast.

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