Sunday, July 10, 2011

Fred The Compost Pile - A Healthy And Thriving Mess

You may be wondering why I would name a compost pile, let alone why I would call it Fred. I was a big fan of Fraggle Rock back in the day when my daughter was young. One of the biggest adventures that any of the Fraggles could endure was a visit to Marjorie The Trash Heap, the all knowing seer, who lived just outside of Fraggle Rock in the garden of Gorg. They sought advice from Marjorie and while it was risky business getting safely to her and back again, because she was outside of Fraggle Rock, the journey was always worth the risk, such as from Junior Gorg who always tried his best to get the Fraggles.

Marjorie was made of things like banana peels, other decomposing vegetable matter, and coffee grinds. She, or it, basically only came to life upon the arrival of Philo and Gunge - 2 rat Muppets. She thrived when they were near and was depressed and downright ill whenever they left her side. She was sort of like my compost pile Fred who depends upon his critters to keep him healthy, although in his case the critters are worms, insects, bugs, and bacteria. Without those critters Fred would not be a productive compost pile. There is probably an errant rodent or two that visits Fred now and again too, either looking for a quick meal of rotting veggies or of a plump and juicy earthworm but I doubt they have the same effect on it as do the worms, insects, bugs and bacteria. Another thing about Fred that is like marjorie is that he is sort of a seer. Nope, he does not talk to me but the compost pile does tell me a lot about the health of my garden.


I know that Fred the compost pile, is healthy because the critters within it are thriving. There are worms, and other bugs and insects, evident at every scoop of the soil. I also know that my garden is pretty healthy because I use the compost as fertilizer for much of it.  It's not just that I used compost that tells me the garden is healthy or that Fred is somewhat of an all knowing seer. The other reason I know the garden is healthy, and that Fred is wise, is because when I planted my vegetable garden this year I put out cow manure on the whole but small plot. Then I added compost to the area in which I planted certain plants. Those plants are doing the best and have far outgrown plants only 2 feet or so away from them that did not get compost added around their roots. Same thing with my potted veggies. The ones that also got an addition of compost from Fred are doing best by far. Thus, Fred is wise beyond imagining, he knows how to make a garden thrive!


One of the added benefits of having a healthy compost pile, other than getting great fertilizer from it, is that it is a great food source. No, I do not eat earthworms. On the other hand, my turtle, some of my tortoises, all of my salamanders, newts, and fish do love them. So, in the video, when I said it is a great food source, that is what I meant besides it helping produce food in the form of healthy vegetables.


As to why I named it Fred? Why not!

Here is a short video of my own version of a wise trash heap, Fred The Compost Pile:


As you can see in the video, besides lots worms and bugs, Fred is often visited by my tortoises when I give them freedom to roam the backyard. They make use of Fred, burrowing into him a bit to stay cool on hot days or when ready to call it quits for the day. Sort of like the Fraggles going to visit or like Philo and Gunge keeping Marjorie company.

All the best,
Glenn B

Reference, more info on Fraggles here:
http://muppet.wikia.com/wiki/Marjory_the_Trash_Heap
http://muppet.wikia.com/wiki/Fraggle_Rock

Reference, more info on compost piles and compost here:
http://web.extension.illinois.edu/homecompost/building.html
http://www.epa.gov/osw/conserve/rrr/composting/by_compost.htm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Compost
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