My Compost Has Joined the Ecosystem!
I’m no compost expert. I’m not a worm expert either. Nor am I the next new permaculture guru. I’m learning all these things alongside the rest of the world which has forgotten them. But on the bright side of being a newbie, the little things almost always bring an extraordinary level of joy.
A few weeks ago I was greeted by the joy of realizing that my compost has joined the local ecosystem!
The Zero Worm Problem
Read more: My Garden Has NO Worms!
When I first started gardening at my house, I made the startling discovery that my garden had absolutely no worms. It wasn’t until months later that I discovered TWO worms while putting in a new fence in the backyard. My hope has been (and continues to be) that native worms will eventually migrate their way over here the more I work with the land and add organic compost to build up the soil.
This seems to actually be starting already.
A few weeks ago while turning my composter, I noticed a dark liquid leaking from it (pictured above). As a side note to our worm discussion, this liquid is actually caused by having an unbalanced amount of organic, nitrogen-heavy vegetable matter to carbon matter. This makes sense if you think about it because there’s so much water that goes into making fruits and veggies. To alleviate this, I’ve actually added more newspaper and cardboard scraps.
But the important discovery that leads me to write today is that in this liquid I also saw something writhing!
Maggots Are Our Friends
They aren’t technically worms—but they’re what look like maggots or Black soldier fly larvae. From my understanding, like earthworms, these critters are great for breaking down organic matter into compost. They are known to not carry the diseases or parasites like other flies, and are apparently some of the best decomposers you can hope to attract to your compost.
A few of my more adventurous rewilding friends actually want to eat them. However, my hope is that these creatures will live long, healthy lives in my compost and then move on as food for other animals in this ecosystem, humans momentarily excluded until the compost these larvae produce feeds the veggies and herbs I grow here.
As conventional wisdom says, if nothing’s eating your garden, it’s not part of the ecosystem. These past few weeks, I have been able to observe how my garden is becoming a more diverse part of this local ecosystem. It is beautiful to see life flourishing already from a starting point that was so lawned, sprayed, and dead. I hope to continue observing the development of a more complex web of life here as my work in this space advances.
Pat Mosley (NC LMBT #16882) is a licensed massage and bodywork therapist in the Winston-Salem area. His work is rooted in compassionate touch, permaculture, and deep ecology with the resilience of all Earth's children in mind. Connect with him via email to email@example.com