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What temperature to Kill Fungus spores??

Lancaster, CA

I think I have a problem w/ fungus, blights and other disease spores overwintering and staying in my compost. I don't put diseased plants in the pile, just veggies, grass, leaves, etc. My pile is open and I just let nature do it's thing. It gets watered and turned every week or so. I have lots of earthworms in the bottom of the pile.

Every year I seem to battle some type of fungus, blight or septorea leaf spot on the tomatos. I was wondering if my compost is harboring these diseases year after year. I have never checked the temp of the pile...just relied on the dark "black gold" look and feel of the compost before I use it. I spread the same compost on the perennial beds and show no ill effects on those beds.

Is it possible that the end product is still carrying these diseases and not fully breaking down?? Will sterilizing the compost before use help? I don't want to kill the beneficial worms.


Adrian, MO(Zone 6a)

even if you totally eliminated your compost there will still be fungii. it's everywhere.
if it's just the tomatoes, you could spray a fungicide before the problems appear, or they say worm casings act as a fungicide, i've not tried this yet.

Dublin, CA(Zone 9a)

Are you planting your tomatoes in the same spot each year? If you have tomatoes in a spot one year and they get the fungus, you need to plant them in a different spot the next year or else it'll just keep getting the fungus. It lives in the soil, and when you plant new tomatoes there the next year the fungus is still there and it'll get them again. You can plant other types of veggies in the spot where the tomatoes were, the fungus that hits the tomatoes I think mostly just infects other things in the same family as tomatoes, such as peppers, eggplants, etc. but unrelated veggies would be fine. Many people do crop rotation with their veggies where they rotate around the locations of various veggies every year to avoid problems like this.

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