john gault
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Native Compost

Everyone is always talking about the importance of not introducing non-native organisms to a given region. But we really don't think much about throwing non-native subtances in the compost. Nearly everything is non-native, because we are surrounded by non-natives, not only in our garden, but also in our landscape, i.e. leaves, grasses and various weeds many times are non-native, but it all goes in the compost without any mention to the contrary.

This thought just jumped in my head and my thoughts are not entirely clear on this, so if anyone has some insight please share.

Here's a thought: In southern Florida we have an issue with invasive animals, especially invasive snakes (I'm sure you've all heard about this). We all know why they create a problem for the natural balance, but what if all invasive animals were introduced dead and left to what ever ate them. What would the problem be?

I know strange question and my thoughts aren't exactly clear here, but working on it....

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Kisal
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I'm certainly no authority on compost, but IMO, once something has broken down/composted/rotted, it has returned to the basic building blocks that make up all things on our planet. The minerals and other substances should be the same, even if in slightly different amounts. After being mixed with native soil, any composted item shouldn't cause damage of any kind, including disrupting the natural balance of things. As I said though, this is just my opinion. :)
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rainbowgardener
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What Kisal said! After composting, it is not a non-native plant any more, it is humus with a bunch of local earthworms, micro-organisms, etc in it. You aren't disrupting the local eco-system to use it.

The main trouble with use of non-native plants in landscaping etc, is that they do disrupt the local eco-system. They don't have built in predators or controls, so they tend to crowd out the natives. The local leaf eating insects can't use them, so disappear. Then the birds that depend on the leaf eating insects disappear, and so on. The amount of species diversity of both the plant and animal kingdoms gets drastically reduced, in the case of english ivy and japanese honeysuckle for e.g., it gets reduced to nearly monoculture level.

None of that happens when using humus that happens to have started with some non-native ingredients in it.
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john gault
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Kisal wrote:I'm certainly no authority on compost, but IMO, once something has broken down/composted/rotted, it has returned to the basic building blocks that make up all things on our planet. The minerals and other substances should be the same, even if in slightly different amounts. After being mixed with native soil, any composted item shouldn't cause damage of any kind, including disrupting the natural balance of things. As I said though, this is just my opinion. :)
I agree, but my thoughts were/are about the process, i.e. the microorganisms that reduce the remains down to the basic building blocks.

What does the ecology of a compost pile here in our area look like compared to that of one anywhere else in the world?

For example, if you introduce a plant species in America there's a good chance that it will become invasive because it has no natural predators, thus has a free range to flourish, paradise in effect. However, if you introduce any dead plant/animal to a compost pile those bacteria/fungi will devour it....I think I'm probably asking a stupid question and should take some biology courses.

tomc
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My two cents on this is: the micro-herd (in my compost) I'm cultivating is indigenous.

Old man Ogden said it probably seventy years ago, "it don't matter whether it passes through the gut of an herbivore, or the gut of a microbe, it's organic when it comes out the back end".

An' I'm going with his assessment.
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dustyrivergardens
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Lol classic

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farmerlon
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Most home/garden compost systems are not hot enough, for enough time, to kill all seeds. So, there could be an issue of spreading Seeds from a non-native species when the compost is distributed.

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