About three months ago we turned over the compost pile using the tractor, and suddenly there sprung to life several vegetable plants. We haven't watered the pile at all, and still the vines and bushes grew, apparently loving the warm moist heat of the pile. Squash flowers have been buzzing with bees. Yesterday afternoon, my daughter and I looked through the pile to see what we've got growing out there.
We found several squash that were edible. I was happy to see that there were Costata Romanesco zucchini growing there, since I didn't have any of that variety in the garden. Costata Romanesco zucchini has raised ridges along the fruit and the flesh has a wonderful creamy texture when cooked, very different from regular green zucchini.
There were also odd yellow bumpy gourds. I briefly recall throwing several old gourds in the pile maybe three years ago, after we'd moved here and discovered that our Halloween gourds were getting yucky. But the rotted gourds I threw into the pile looked nothing like this. Apparently the gourd seeds mutated into something different.
The pile has also become home to numerous donor tomato and potato plants.
Unfortunately this pile isn't going to provide useful compost for the garden. In addition to the donor vegetables growing in it, it's full of weeds, clumps of grass and rocky dirt clods from around the property. When it becomes too overgrown to bear looking at, we mow over it with the tractor, using the giant scoop to turn the pile over, spread it out and pile it back up again. Every year the pile has gotten even bigger. The way it's growing, we may be able to sled down it in the winter! What else can we do with a compost pile like this?