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4 Days Not In The Garden

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4 Days Not In The Garden

Post  Razed Bed on 7/6/2015, 4:40 am

I was sidelined for the last four days trying to get well from Bacterial Conjuctivitis/Pink Eye.  The pretty blonde nurse at my doctor's clinic told me my eyes were the worst they have seen all year, which is par for the course with my past history.

It rained every day while I was forced to stay inside, and I only got out of bed when I unfortunately had to go to my elderly parents' house to bury their sweet angel 14-year old mutt that passed away sometime overnight.

When I returned home, I had to wash my shoes off because they were caked in clayey mud.  I took a peek at the compost pile.  My 13-year old nephew, built like Charles Atlas, had graciously come over to help my wife with some outdoor tasks.  He did not know he was doing anything wrong when he emptied the compost container into one of the 32-gallon trash cans.  It had about 15 egg shells that had not yet been washed out.

So, when I looked at the compost this morning, I was greeted with maybe 200-300 maggots crawling in there, and my breakfast almost became part of the compost.

Has anybody ever had maggots in their compost?  What should I do?  It is already heating up to about 95 degrees and should be 120-135 by Tuesday when the hot weather returns in earnest. 

BTW, has anybody had pink eye and thought they got it from maybe getting unfinished compost in their eye?

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Re: 4 Days Not In The Garden

Post  sanderson on 7/6/2015, 9:14 am

@Razed Bed wrote:I was sidelined for the last four days trying to get well from Bacterial Conjuctivitis/Pink Eye.  It rained every day while I was forced to stay inside, and I only got out of bed when I unfortunately had to go to my elderly parents' house to bury their sweet angel 14-year old mutt that passed away sometime overnight.
That is very sad, and very loving of you to go help them.

My 13-year old nephew, built like Charles Atlas, had graciously come over to help my wife with some outdoor tasks.  He did not know he was doing anything wrong when he emptied the compost container into one of the 32-gallon trash cans.  It had about 15 egg shells that had not yet been washed out.  So, when I looked at the compost this morning, I was greeted with maybe 200-300 maggots crawling in there, and my breakfast almost became part of the compost.

Has anybody ever had maggots in their compost?  What should I do?  It is already heating up to about 95 degrees and should be 120-135 by Tuesday when the hot weather returns in earnest.
In the summer, the common house fly can go from egg to emerging fly in 6 days.  If you can see the larvae, they are probably 2nd or 3rd instar and will go into pupae stage, where they will crawl away for a cool moist environment.  I bet there are other slow or container compost piles with maggots!

BTW, has anybody had pink eye and thought they got it from maybe getting unfinished compost in their eye?
Interesting question, but it's usually through a bacteria or virus from another person.  ??

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Re: 4 Days Not In The Garden

Post  Marc Iverson on 7/6/2015, 9:44 pm

I wouldn't worry about maggots in the compost pile, but then again I don't get massive infestation of biting flies.

Maggots are actually quite useful and healthy things in the environment, in their own way. They help decompose things. They serve as food for other creatures. Many is the demented or comatose or terrifically obese person finally brought into the hospital who only kept an infected body part because flies landed on the infection and their maggots kept their wounds clean.

I'm not saying they're not revolting -- you got me there. But my main worry about things like eggshells in the compost is their attracting rats, dogs, and other critters. Our dogs dug deep into a compost pile I buried fresh eggshells in, spewing it everywhere and making themselves filthy with manure. I learned a lesson.
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Re: 4 Days Not In The Garden

Post  Razed Bed on 7/7/2015, 9:02 am

This is only in one of our four 32-gallon containers.  The tops are kept tightly secured by bungee cords, so there will be no hanky panky from any mammals, lest they walk on two legs.

I went out there today and covered the maggots with about 1/4 inch of finished compost from our finished windrow.  I know that's not a cure, but if I can at least not see them, then maybe I can bring myself to turn that pile tomorrow.

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Re: 4 Days Not In The Garden

Post  BeckieSueDalton on 7/7/2015, 8:34 pm

I'll keep good thoughts for you on getting better and also on getting your compost heap fixed up.  I'd have lost my breakfast, too.
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Re: 4 Days Not In The Garden

Post  Razed Bed on 7/8/2015, 11:35 pm

Thanks, Becky.  Your kind remarks and the healing eye drops have done wonders.  I don't look like I have been drinking for 10 hours straight any more.  The redness and itchy-burny have gone away, and most of the blurry vision is now gone.

I went out this morning and scraped the top 4 inches off the compost, which is where 99% of the maggots were living.  I took that up to our woods and dumped it where it can help a future cedar tree grow.

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