Because compost is living, full of millions of different micro-organisms, it would make sense that everyone’s compost (the organisms inside it) is/are adapted to their specific environments and any selection pressure being applied. The same way heirloom plants are adapted to the environments and gardening styles in which they are grown.
I’ve seen a lot of different discussions and research around the different micro-organisms found in different compost. I have always thought it would be very beneficial to trade compost, taking a small amount of someone else’s compost and introducing it to my pile to gain any potential new organisms. Kind of how the farmers in South America dig Terra Preta and add it to their soils.
This would be like cross-breeding compost piles. Introducing new genetics (organisms genetically different as well as, potentially, totally new organisms being introduced) and increasing diversity within the pile.
I believe as long as the donor compost is coming from a healthy pile it should be beneficial. Even if it is from an unhealthy pile, it would be a small amount of compost being introduced and so would be diluted and should not cause any problems. The introduced organisms will be fighting to survive, survival of the fittest. It would only be the best adapted (to your pile/conditions). This may be the original organisms, or maybe the new ones are better adapted and outcompete the old. If they are the same/similar species maybe it is a hybrid of the two which thrive.
It would be very interesting to experiment with a control group to see if the pile with added compost outperformed the control as far as things like ability to breakdown materials.
The potential problems I see with this is that you may be introducing or spreading things like pathogens, especially trading between temperate and tropical climates.
What is your opinion on trading compost? If you think this is a good idea, where do you draw the line on where the donor compost is coming from? (Should it be limited at all? Should it be traded between States? Continents? Growing Zones?)
It would also be interesting to see if you could gain anything from seasonally introducing compost from a warmer or colder climate. Like growing warm-season or cool-season annuals. If you are in a cold climate and during spring/summer introduced compost from a warmer climate would you gain compost efficiency/productivity in that warmer season? Same with a sub-tropical climate pile, in winter you could introduce compost from a colder climate.
Like I said, this is mostly just stuff I’ve always only thought about. If anyone has tried anything like this or knows of experiments with results, good or bad, I would love to know about it. Thanks!
"Despite all our accomplishments we owe our existence to a six-inch layer of topsoil and the fact that it rains."