Compost-Along: Week 6

As you may have suspected by now, your task this week is again to TURN your compost. Add water as needed to the dry spots.  Remember: “wrung-out sponge.”

It’s very hot here now, so I will only turn very early in the morning or after the sun has gone down, and with plenty of water to drink.  If it’s too hot where you are, just let your compost sit again until a break in the weather.  Don’t overdo it.

Last week, we learned about the microorganisms that are decomposing our compost for us.  This week, I’d like to take a look at the invertebrates that are doing their thing.

This article from Cornell University has an excellent overview of the creepy crawlies in compost.

Watching them work for my garden gives me new respect and tolerance for these things that often seem just gross, but are actually as helpful and functional as the much-lauded earthworms and the venerated pollinators.  Decomposers are distinctly unglamorous, but they are hard-working little mini-gardeners and the backbone of soil fertility.

I know.  Invertebrates don’t have backbones.  Choose another metaphor, Dais.

They are the tiny workhorses of soil fertility.  Good enough.

I’ve seen a million sowbugs, springtails, and beetles in mine.

What’s crawling in your pile?

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  1. First thing each spring when I dig down to the bottom of my pile I find grub worms. These are the creatures that eat the roots of my veggies and then become the demented june bugs. My dog loves to eat the grubs! I certainly do not want them in my garden soil, so we spend the time picking them out and tossing them to the dog who gobbles them up like candy.

  2. haha! My turtles LOVE grubs, so I dig them up and freeze them for feeding in the winter.

  3. Since my compost is in tumblers with no ground contact, I haven’t cultured quite as much of a zoo as you have. I see little gnat-looking guys all the time. Last fall there were big creepy brown beetle grubs in the aging pile, which did have some ground contact at the time.

  4. i don’t know if this is a good thing, but when i turn my pile, my chickens go get a snack off all the grubs :0)