We’ve all handled the odd tomato that looks like it’s gone past it. The thing is, can we put tomatoes in the compost with everything else?
Yes tomatoes can be used in compost but think about this:
1.Tomatoes are acidic
This will mean that you may need to add something to neutralize the acidity. There’s nothing difficult about it, just add some hydrated white-lime. It’s available as an easy-to-use powder, it’s safe to use and it’s relatively cheap. It’s good practice to do this, whatever you’re putting in the compost.
You only need to use a small amount of hydrated white-lime when you add anything to compost. If you find that your loading in a lot of tomatoes in one go, then you may need to add a little more.
2.Do you need to throw away the whole tomato?
No, you don’t. When you see a spot on a tomato it’s an indication that it’s starting to go, it doesn’t mean that you have to throw out the whole thing. Take a sharp knife, cut away the bad bit and see what it looks like on the inside.
There is a huge amount of waste that happens because so many people aren’t prepared to cut fruits open and investigate. When you do this, use your eyes and nose. If it looks good and smells right then you can make use of it.
3.Tomatoes contain seeds
The seeds have a habit of sprouting in the compost and grow into new plants. This may be what you want. Some people make use of them and grow them on. They may fruit for you but there is a risk. If the tomato, from which the seed was generated, was an F1 generation then the seedling may have reverted to the original type. The seedling may not have the same characteristics and, therefore, the fruit may disappoint.
If a seed germinates in a compost bin, you will see it come to the surface and you can decide whether to make use of the young plant or get rid of it. If they germinate in a tumbler-style composter, you may not see them. Seeds often germinate in the Rolypig composter. These can be salvaged, if you really want to by gaining access through the rear door where the compost comes out. In most cases any young seedlings are broken up and squashed as the tumbler is rolled over.
Do tomatoes attract rats or mice in compost bins?
Tomatoes won’t attract rodents to the compost heap any more than any of the other morsels that may be on offer. Most food items that go into compost tend to rot down fairly quickly. You can make it less appetizing to rodents if you sprinkle white-lime over it. This will not only deter rodents, it will speed up the composting process.
Can you eat tomato skin?
Yes, you can eat the skin on a tomato. You don’t need to peel it off and throw it out to be composted. Most cold salad dishes will include raw, chopped tomatoes with the skin left on. All fruits that can be eaten complete with skin must be thoroughly washed.
This isn’t just for basic hygiene but there may be faint residues of pesticides present. You won’t need to worry too much about this if you eat only organic tomatoes. These won’t have been exposed to any pesticides or any other chemical intrusion.
Tomato skins appear to consist of dietary fibre which, by all accounts, is good for digestion and general intestinal health. It does, however, contain lycopene which gives tomato skin its red colour. Some people may be intolerant to this but it’s not considered to be toxic.