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Volunteer cucurbit in my humanure pile... eat it?

 
pollinator
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Location: Colville, WA Zone 5b
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I know, this is kind of a noob question but I can't seem to find any information about what vegetables might take up pathogens systemically.

I keep each year's humanure pile separate, and last year's pile has a beautiful cucumber or SOMETHING growing in it. I don't manage my piles - my oldest pile is almost 4 years old and I still probably won't use it for another year or so, I tend to do the "let it sit long enough with lots of worms in it and it should be fine" kind of deal.

So I'm not entirely sure if I should leave it or pull it - what do you think? Are there vegetable plants that can potentially take up pathogens or would I really just need to worry about root or leafy crops that might physically touch the compost?
 
master pollinator
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I don't believe it could take up pathogens. I believe if it fruits the fruit should be safe to eat, especially if washed and peeled.  If you're really worried, cook it.

 
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hugelkultur forest garden woodworking
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My understanding is similar to what Tyler expressed.

We had a similar experience but with volunteer tomatoes: they looked amazing, but just to be safe, we didn't eat the fruits. What we did do, however, is harvest the seeds from those tomatoes and the next year we had some ridiculously large bushes and munched on some of the tastiest tomatoes I've ever had!
 
pollinator
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Tyler Ludens wrote:If you're really worried, cook it.



Yes to this. There are many people who use humanure that is less aged than yours to grow veggies (this is traditional and still used in China, for instance). The produce is then thoroughly cooked before eating, which kills any pathogens that splashed onto the veggies.
 
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harvest the seeds



that sounds like a great compromise... just let it grow and save the seed.
 
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Very timely for me. I have a volunteer squash plant growing in one of my mixed humanure/compost bins. I've had tomatoes before & if I get more I'll definitey harvest the seeds – great idea!

I rotate three large bins, but don't use the finished compost on veg beds. I want to, but worry.
 
steward
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I've had tomatoes before...


Those tomatoes are most likely from seeds that you ate...
...tough little seeds.

there was a treatment facility about a mile from where I once lived.  After the raw sewage went through the treatment plant, they piled the sludge outside.  Those sludge piles looked like tomato farms all summer long.

 
Jane Weeks
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...there was a treatment facility about a mile from where I once lived.  After the raw sewage went through the treatment plant, they piled the sludge outside.  Those sludge piles looked like tomato farms all summer long.



I don't suppose anybody harvested them? ;)
 
Bethany Dutch
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How interesting! Had no idea tomato seeds survive digestion.

I've been planning on using the humanure next year when I start putting in perennial fruits and fruit trees, but yeah now I'm sitting here wondering. I may just feed the fruits to the chickens and have them turn them into eggs and call it a day I just can't bear to pull it out, it's so lovely and flourishing. My volunteers always do better than my planted plants, that's for sure.
 
John Polk
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Had no idea tomato seeds survive digestion.


Many seeds survive digestion.
That's why birds are such great spreaders of plants.

 
chip sanft
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John Polk wrote:

Had no idea tomato seeds survive digestion.


Many seeds survive digestion.
That's why birds are such great spreaders of plants.



Yep -- we now get volunteers popping up where the birds s(h)it and the sun shines! YUM
 
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