Bug Poop

I have made an amazing discovery. I have discovered soil.

I bought a composter. The one I use is from Lowe’s. I had the opportunity to purchase a simple, box-like affair, but as usual, I went for the gusto. I bought a self-turning composter. Very cool!

I started composting my family’s vegetative waste. Since my wife and I are now juicing heavily (more on this later), we are generating vast amounts of pulp from juicing. Thus, composting was really the only reasonable solution. So I started putting stuff into the composter, and then made regular trips to the composter to add material, and check on the progress. In the process of doing this, I discovered what soil is.

It’s mostly bug poop.

Technically, bug poop in soil is called frass. Compost is almost entirely made up of frass eventually (as well as the waste products of various other critters like fungus, mold, etc.). Soil is a mixture of compost and fine rocky material, basically sand or clay.

It’s really interesting (although rather gross) to watch waste material from human food production turn into compost. Eventually, all of the green, orange and other colors turn to a deep brown, almost black. There is a lot of fiber in my compost. This makes it a bit stringy. But it works extremely well at growing plants. Wow! Do plants ever like bug poop.

Which gets to my point of discovering soil: Every human on the planet has the responsibility to create and nurture a certain amount of soil. There is no escaping from this requirement: We must all eat. In the process of consuming food, we are effectively (either directly or indirectly) using soil. There is no other place (other than hydroponics of course) where food can come from.

The problem with soil is that it must be maintained. There are only two ways to keep soil fertile: Either use compost (or manure with is just another form of poop) to enrich the soil, or else use chemical fertilizers. We all know where that leads.

In the end, the conclusion is clear: Either we are all going to eat food grown in dead soil with a chemical fertilizer keeping it alive, or else we are going to have to make a lot of bug poop. We either hire someone else (a farmer) to do this for us, or we do it ourselves. Historically, in my life, I have been a soil hirer: I have bought my tomatoes at the grocery store. Now, I am going to grow them.

I actually have to. What else can I possibly do with all of that compost?

More later.