We try to compost and recycle as much as we can. I am not sure we are trying to reduce our “carbon footprint” or we just hate to see anything go to waste. Over the past 10 years we have gone from throwing away two large trash bags of material per week to about one-third of a trash bag per week. Most of this is kitty litter and the very few things we cannot compost or recycle.
Once you start composting your realize that the pile of detritus is an amazing thing. It actually takes on a life of its own. When done correctly it is pleasant smelling, somewhere between earthy and the smell of yogurt. With enough citrus elements it actually smells a lot like a fruit drink. The color changes from greens and browns to a dense chocolate color. And when spread over the garden it yields some incredible plants, intended and unintended.
I am guessing that our compost never gets to a very hot temperature as many of the seeds that end up in the pile will germinate once added to the garden. We have become used to cucumbers growing among the tomatoes and squash sprouting around the basil. This year we have had two very surprising guests in the garden. The first are two tomatillo plants; surprising only because I cannot remember the last time I made tomatillo salsa. The second seems to be a plant that has hybridized from two foods we compost regularly, butternut squash and calabaza squash, a Mexican squash similar to zucchini although a bit fatter and lighter in color.
This hybrid squash has the interior texture and color of the butternut squash, with very tiny translucent seeds. The exterior is more like the calabaza, green and readily edible although a bit tougher than its true Mexican cousin. We have prepared it sauteed and baked. It is less sugary than the butternut, but much more flavorful than the calabaza. And since we did not grow either calabaza or butternut squash last year we have no idea how the two species could have crossed unless the compost elves did some of their magic.
We have saved some of the seeds in the hope that it is not a sterile plant like so many other hybrids. If not we may have found a new species of squash. Patent office here we come!
Category: Gardening, Musings | Tags: butternut and calabaza squash hybrid, butternut squash, calabaza and butternut squash hybrid, calabaza squash, composting, composting surprises, garden composting 2 comments »