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Bugs & worms in my compost.

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Bugs & worms in my compost.

Post  The Cat's Other Mother on 3/22/2011, 1:34 pm

I have a bin full of what looks like great compost, after I sift it through a wire mesh to remove a few leaves and sticks, but it's also full of earthworms and pill bugs, and volunteer seedlings, so apparently it never got hot enough to sterilize. Is it okay to use, and if not, what can I do to finish it off for my spring boxes? Would spreading it on a tarp to dry be good or bad?

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Re: Bugs & worms in my compost.

Post  miinva on 3/22/2011, 1:40 pm

I'm no expert, but if it were me I would sprinkle some alfalfa meal or pellets on it, wet it down well, and stir it every day or so. Alfalfa helps it to heat up. There are other things that work for that as well, but I'm not sure what they are, I just know people have mentioned other things in different threads around the forum.

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Re: Bugs & worms in my compost.

Post  camprn on 3/22/2011, 4:24 pm

@The Cat's Other Mother wrote:I have a bin full of what looks like great compost, after I sift it through a wire mesh to remove a few leaves and sticks, but it's also full of earthworms and pill bugs, and volunteer seedlings, so apparently it never got hot enough to sterilize. Is it okay to use, and if not, what can I do to finish it off for my spring boxes? Would spreading it on a tarp to dry be good or bad?
Sounds practically perfect to me. The worms and pill bugs eat decaying matter and it's perfectly natural to find them in the compost. The seedlings are also not too much of a surprise. Once you disturb the compost that the seedlings are growing in, they should perish and all will be well. You are very lucky to be getting the worms into the garden bed!! cheers HOORAY!

It sounds like it has decomposed well enough that you would not benefit from trying to recharge and heat up this pile.
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Re: Bugs & worms in my compost.

Post  boffer on 3/22/2011, 4:36 pm

Some people are meticulous and careful about their composting and are able to sterilize the entire batch.

I would venture to guess that most home compost never reaches sterilization temperatures for a long enough time or that all of the compost does. I know mine doesn't. You might have some viable weed seeds in it; not a big deal. You've got the good stuff in your compost doing their job for you; I would use it.
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Re: Bugs & worms in my compost.

Post  BackyardBirdGardner on 3/22/2011, 5:25 pm

My grandfather never turned his compost. He just dropped in from the top and pulled out from the bottom. And, stuff grew in that like absolute crazy.

Remember to use Mel's favorite tools to weed.....your thumb and forefinger. You will never have perfectly weed free gardening. And, bugs and worms are just filling their nitch in the cycle. Let nature run it's course and watch your garden grow.

Now, if you found termites, that would be a different story.
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Re: Bugs & worms in my compost.

Post  The Cat's Other Mother on 3/22/2011, 11:11 pm

Thanks, guys. I am going to go with it as part of my mix. The earthworms are welcome to stay, but I hope most of the pill bugs will go somewhere else before I start planting, since they reputedly can damage seedlings.

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