Monday, April 11, 2011

Sustainability is hard. A lesson in maggots - maybe.

First of all, my parents are going to be here in two days. I am going to go to sleep tonight. And then I am going to go to sleep tomorrow (night). And then I am going to take two trains and a bus to the airport to pick them up. That's all that separates me from my parents. Well, that and a to-do list that is continually growing. I have a few more jobs I want to apply for before I go away. I need to go grocery shopping. I need to go to the eye doctor (again). I have to get my legs waxed (helllllooo BEACHES). And I have to clean my apartment - mostly my room - which is disgusting.

Ahem, but what am I doing now you ask? I am writing this blog post about compost and maggots.

For a long time Inspector Climate and I talked about getting a compost - one of those urban ones that's basically like a tank and then you tumble the stuff around in there and a few months later you get compost. For Christmas, Inspector Climate got one. And we excitedly started throwing fruit peels and veggie cuttings into it with abandon.

I grew up having a compost and this is exactly what we did with it. I threw the peel of my grapefruit into the compost bin and then emptied it into a container outside and then the following year would be slightly grossed out as I helped my mom spread it over her garden. However, what I didn't realise is that she did a lot more to it than that. She added hay and dried leaves to it. She stirred it up with a pitchfork.

Basically, we got a compost with no research and a couple of months ago when Inspector Climate and I opened the bin it had a distinctly vomit flavoured scent that was the opposite of pleasant. And so, we started putting coffee ground* into the compost because that's supposed to help it be not so smelly and also it's supposed to dry it out a little. That kind of helped. Then we finished filling it up and now we open it up and stir around. About 3 weeks ago, Inspector Climate came in from tumbling the compost to tell me that there were maggots in there. Gross. But I assumed he was just overreacting to some worms. And worms are good! This was my first mistake.

And, yesterday we went down there again so I could say hello to the lemon tree. And there are some kind of maggot looking white grub in the compost bin - not just some, but probably over a 1000 in a not so huge area. Then I spent the next 2o minutes researching and looking at pictures to try and identify what kind of white grub they were. Holy god, have you ever googled white maggots in compost? Don't do it. That was my second mistake.

So the lesson here is is a. do some research before you start composting. b. composts should not be super wet, and if it is super wet, get some straw, non-toxic newspaper, or sawdust to dry that sucker out. Otherwise, you're going to have maggots/grubs. To be honest, if I thought that the white nasty little things were going to stay in that compost, I'd probably be ok with it. But I have NO idea what type of bug they are going to turn into. What if they are some swarming, biting, leaf nibbling wasp; and they eat our lemon tree? I am not sure I could recover from that kind of heartbreak.

*compost needs to be a mix of "green" materials (like food scraps) and "brown materials" (like coffee grounds, straw, saw dust, dead leaves, etc). And we did know that. But we thought the ratio was supposed to be about 1:1. When after doing my research last night, it's supposed to be more like 1:5 or 2:5. Whooops!

And now I've bored you all to death with stories of compost and maggots and white grubs. Seriously, every time I think about it I get grossed out. I was totally afraid I was going to get nightmares (I didn't...but Inspector Climate was being strange in his sleep again. Last night, I got a little cold and went to snuggle up to him (apparently, my third mistake) and he said in his sleep "No. Don't touch me!!!"

"Why?" I asked.

"I just sgiqkenlgqhdpupqeibcmzadaf" he mumbled, "bwahahaha" and then followed it by a deep belly laugh like he had just told the funniest mumbled joke in the world.)


  1. Oh wow, I never knew that could happen with composts! Gross! Thanks for the heads up :)
    Haha it's so funny when people talk in their sleep.

  2. Ewww!! We have one at my mom's house and field mice and rabbits and stuff get into it.

  3. I talk in my sleep! But maggots-I think I'll pass!

  4. Bleeeeech, maggots. I have a composter in my basement waiting to be put together and that is one of my fears. Mostly I think that someone will accidentally put some meat scraps in the composter and then we'd be doomed.

    My husband is an occasional sleep talker. And apparently also a sleep groper. I can tell before we fall asleep if I'm going to be woken up by someone trying to make out with me. Which is really funny because in the 'awake' world he's not that into make out sessions. Lets just say I treasure those moments. ;)

  5. LOL!!! OMG, girl... okay, so I have been thinking of composting for ages and would also need one of those tiny urban ones. My family did also when I was growing up (though I also didn't realize the ratio of brown to green materials). Maybe I'll hold off for now. The thought of white maggots totally grosses me out to no end. BUT I think it's wonderful you're composting! Keep at it, sistah :)

    Thanks so much for stopping by earlier and leaving a comment--always wonderful to have a new face. Enjoy your week!

  6. Yucky is the word. I'm anti-maggot. I think composting is a lot more complicated than people realize. Good luck!

  7. haha, i love your story. but also, ew! i'm sorry about your maggots. if it makes you feel any better, you've probably saved my life. we'll likely be getting a compost bin and i never knew about the ratio either. honestly, i don't do research. i know it would have saved me on a number of occasions, but i still don't do it. so now i know valuable information. thanks!

  8. We were thinking about a compost bin - but your story may have changed my mind. Very funny, but what did you do with the stuff in the maggoty bin??

  9. That's a big reason why I'm afraid to try the whole composting inside your home deal. Have you ever watched 'No Impact Man'? He did that and it seemed to go fairly well for him, but I'm not sure I'd be so lucky.

    I had a bit of a compost pile before and I didn't do too much with it and it seemed fine, but I imagine if I had put more work into it, it would have been fantastic. I absolutely loved taking care of it, though, ha! I think it attracted opossums...

    Twitter: @GlamKitten88

  11. Oh, my goodness! I was just thinking about getting an urban compost. I really want to start doing it again. However, all I have seen is big unruly things. Thanks for the tips!

  12. EW. I am so sorry that your attempt to be green bred maggots. But on the plus side, it sounds like IC is pretty cute and hilarious in his sleep ;)

  13. I am completely and utterly disgusted by the ideas of maggots in compost. AGGGHHHHH

  14. Many Colours of Happiness - Yeah, I didn't know it either. Definitely gross.

    Oneika - Nothing ever gets into my mom's at home...We were really concerned that possums might get in it, but no.

    Blonde Duck - Hilarious, what kind of stuff do you say? IC always seems to think he has bugs in his bed or something.

    Meredith Duck - Besides this little maggot incident the compost has been really good. You do have to be careful about meat scraps

    Charlotte - don't hold off! Just be careful!

    Mil - I, too, am anti maggot. We're going to have to do a bit of work on it to get it right I think.

    Kimbirdy - Haha, I am so glad this hasn't put you off composting. It's been a pleasure. besides this nasty little bug problem.

    Laughing Mom - No! get one. Just you know, put a lot of brown stuff in

    Eva - Well, to be fair this isn't INSIDE our home. It's in a courtyard. I was quite afraid of the possum potential - particularly my history with the critters.

    Bonnie - I am so sorry to have caused nightmares, talking about it was really cathartic though.

    Googlover - There are some really nice compact ones (at least in Australia).

    Teacher Girl - IC is adorable and hilarious. Both are very true.

    Boob Nazi - I hear that. We'll make them go away though. I am ok.

  15. This story is hilarious. I was actually thinking of getting a compost bin like you have. I think you may have convinced me otherwise. I wouldn't have any brown material to add as I live in an apt/condo. Thanks for the fair warning!

  16. Too funny, my husband USED to talk in his sleep when we first moved in together, but hasn't in over a year... I on the other hand apparently do it regularly :)

  17. I was thinking about getting a compost but after reading your story I might change my mind:) Have a great day,my dear

    Ps: I’m hosting a charming necklace GIVEAWAY later today! Hope you’ll join in:)

  18. He was probably having dreams about maggots. That would make me talk in my sleep and demand not to be touched.

  19. Just so you know: Sometimes compost smells like poo.

  20. Last summer I had to wash maggots out of my garbage can.
    I fear nothing now.