Eat Veggies from "Fresh" Compost Pile...

The International Compost Sanitation Forum and Message Board: General Composting Issues: Eat Veggies from "Fresh" Compost Pile?
Author: Burra (Burra)
Monday, August 04, 2008 - 2:19 am
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In his younger days my other half used to bury the 'night soil' in a trench in the garden and then used the trench to grow beans - the theory was to grow something so that the bit you ate was as far as possible away from the 'soil'. Based on that, I think it would be perfectly safe to eat the fruit, especially ones growing further along the vines that haven't been resting directly on the compost. Beware of the 'yuck factor' - if your girlfriend feels uncomfortable eating ones closer to the centre of the pile, don't eat them, and let her scrub them clean and peel them until she's happy.

My only vague concern is that if the squash seed survived, then the temperatures in the pile didn't rise high enough to destroy any pathogens, but if you two are already healthy then that's not a problem!

Author: Fred Greenhalgh (Finalrune)
Sunday, August 03, 2008 - 12:50 pm
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LOL Joe -- thanks for that. Our concern was that some sort of disease/pathogen would be part of the fresh compost (it's aged less than 6 mo.) and thus, somehow part of the fruit.

Though turd chutney does sound pretty appetizing.

And thanks, Joe, for the encouragement! We came dangerously close to purchasing a commercial composting toilet until we discovered the Humanure Handbook, and couldn't be happier with the sawdust method.

Author: Joe Jenkins (Joe)
Sunday, August 03, 2008 - 10:47 am
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I can't imagine that eating the squash would be a health risk. What is the basis of your concern? If you pick the squash and then tub it in to a fresh turd somewhere, then eat it raw, it would be a health risk. Is that what your girlfriend is planning on doing?

Author: John D. Seibert (Shush)
Saturday, August 02, 2008 - 11:16 pm
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Fred: Looks identical to my vines. Beautiful results, except mine was a deliberate planting in a patch of natural, worm laden earth with compost a major portion. Let's see what Joe has to say about the edible question. Congratulations!

Author: Fred Greenhalgh (Finalrune)
Saturday, August 02, 2008 - 2:50 pm
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Got a question...

We started composting using the "sawdust toilet" method this past winter, just dumping everything in a pile out back and not constructing any sort of shelter for it. We intended to (and did) create a new pile when we had proper compost bins created in the spring.

What we didn't expect, however, was the compost to explode into a self-made vegetable garden. Rather than meekly decomposing into yummy compost, it has exploded with winter squash that are now sprawling out in all directions.

The question: is it safe to eat the fruit from those squash? (looks like acorn, maybe butternut, but it's kinda early to tell)

Picture of Crazy Compost-Cum-Veggie Pile

My girlfriend feels like it's a health risk, but I can't stand the thought of throwing away all those good veggies.

Thanks for any opinions!

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