Can this compost be saved?
August 28, 2011 8:49 AM   Subscribe

Did I ruin my compost?

I have a compost tumbler. After harvesting the last of my sweet corn a few weeks ago, I pulled up the stalks and added them to the compost. Shortly thereafter, I opened the compost bin and discovered lots of corn earworms. I guess they must have been living on the corn stalks/ears and I didn't notice them until they made it into the compost. Now they seem to be thriving, getting fat and happy off the corn and other vegetable scraps in the bin.

Did I ruin my compost? Will I ever be able to use it in the garden, or would that mean the earworms would destroy whatever I plant?
posted by southern_sky to Home & Garden (4 answers total)
If you get the compost to heat up as it should the cooked earworms will be added nutrient. Add more organic matter and tumble as directed.
posted by nogero at 9:01 AM on August 28, 2011

Best answer: Are you certain that they're earworm larvae and not soldier fly grubs or another non-harmful insect more commonly found in compost?

In any case, my experience w/grubs in my tumbler is that, no matter how healthy they look when you first notice them, they're almost all dead w/in a week. My guess is that once their food supply is gone, the trapped larvae will die and add nutrients to your compost.
posted by ryanshepard at 10:05 AM on August 28, 2011

If you water and feed oxygen by using the tumbling action you shouldn't have any problems, however you may want to make sure that you cut the corn stalks into little pieces and make sure you add a lotfresh grass clippings or other green's landscape material that does not have fiber otherwise you may have problems with your compost
posted by ok at 12:10 PM on August 28, 2011

Response by poster: Now that you mention it, ryanshepard, they DO kind of look like the soldier fly grubs in your link! Wow, that's good news. I never thought I'd be so happy to see maggots. Thanks!
posted by southern_sky at 3:49 PM on August 28, 2011 [1 favorite]

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