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There's a world beneath your feet.

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(no subject) [Feb. 26th, 2012|05:26 pm]
There's a world beneath your feet.

Hi everybody! I'm new, so forgive me if this has been asked before.

I started my DIY worm bin quite awhile ago (6+ months), and I'm sure it's about time for me to harvest the castings. What is the best way to go about doing so? I read that you should pack handfuls of the contents (castings, worms, and all) into pyramids and leave them out in the sun, slowing chipping away at them as the worms ball in the middle to escape the heat and sun. Is this really the most efficient way of doing it? Can you recommend another way? Thanks so much.
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Leaf Mold [Feb. 4th, 2012|01:18 pm]
There's a world beneath your feet.

I must admit, that one area where I'm tempted to use chemical fertilizer is with regard to adding nitrogen to my so called compost pile. I call it compost, but the realit is that it is probably 90% leaves. I'm on a quiet street, with little traffic or on street parkings, so I feel pretty safe in collecting leaves on my block and do so obsessively. Starting in September, I built the pile up to exceed 20 cubic yards, and with yard waste, kitchen waste, pee and some purchase blood meal, it heated up quickly and started to rot as I continued to add more leaves until it was at 30 yards by the end of Octover.

We've had a warm wet winter, but by now, the pile is starving for nitrogen, and I'm tryijng to locate a cheap source of organic nitrogen. I'll probably buy a back of Ringer's lawn fetilizer, but that's nowhere near enough. Any ideas on cheap nitrogen?
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Oh dear. [Sep. 19th, 2011|06:12 am]
There's a world beneath your feet.

[mood |guiltyguilty]

Somewhere in the rush, my brain forgot I could get messages on LJ. So I missed all the pleas for moderation in the face of the spambot. I shall take a look at selecting some co-moderators, for the next time I go brain dead.
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Hey! I've not died and been buried in the pile! [Jun. 30th, 2011|03:14 am]
There's a world beneath your feet.

[mood |geekygeeky]

Just thought I'd check to see if everyone was still playing nice. I don't do much LJ anymore due to time constraints and yuk advertising. BUT I did want to see how things were going here. If there's anything that needs brought to my attention, please let me know.

I'm thinking there's a ton of you here that have never seen me post. *gasp* D:

This year I got a couple of folks I care about to turn my bed. They got a foot down, called it off for the day and then a deluge happened. I currently have a clay pit in my back yard baked by the sun with a lumpy mass all around one side with my bin at the end. Seems the soil hits hard pan about a foot down. So without a pick ax I think we're stuck. Seriously thinking about encasing the entire row in mesh and raising a huge lasagna bed. What would you use to contain this raised bed? I used single landscape timbers several years ago, but they're now eaten up and need tossing. Operative words here: Damn Cheap if not Free.
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Compost [Jun. 18th, 2011|08:04 am]
There's a world beneath your feet.

Like most organic gardeners, I have a bit of an obsession with composting. Usually this time of year, green material is in fairly short supply. Sadly, in a way, not this year. At the community garden where I have a plot, this year many new gardeners are keeping the trash bins full of weeds and other green material.

My first use of this material was to build shallow compost "paths." Let me explain, the town dumps partially decomposed wood chips near the plots for out use. I both dug a lot of this into my beds, used this as much, and to cover the paths between beds. As all this green material became available, I spread a six inch layer of it over the wood chips in the path, and covered that with a thin layer of wood chips, and repeated the process. I don't want to go to high with this idea, because I'm afraid that it might create enough heat to burn the nearby plants. So each day I bring some of the green material home to add to my compost pile.
You can never have enough, right?
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worm/environmentally freindly water proofing [Mar. 29th, 2011|06:44 pm]
There's a world beneath your feet.
[mood |artisticartistic]

Hello All,

I've decided to make a worm bin. I plan to use a wood kit. I have seen several sites that suggest treating the interior with paraffin for water-resistance, but they are all lacking detail concerning how to prepare & apply the paraffin. I'm hoping someone here might have some experience or knowledge about this. I am wondering -

if candle wax is the correct material for this task

what a recommended way to prepare the paraffin might be (for example, when working with candles, you put the wax in a jar in boiling water. But it seems like the paraffin needs to be much hotter than that. I am hoping to get some idea about how to go about this (relatively) safely.)

what a recommended way to apply it might be and if there are any environmentally friendly disposable tools that might be good for this. (I am thinking of using a piece of corrugated cardboard as a 'brush')

Any information I could get would be greatly appreciated.

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Envirocycle mini-composter [Mar. 22nd, 2011|03:22 pm]
There's a world beneath your feet.

Does anyone here have any experience with the Envirocycle mini composter?

I have limited space, I could fit this in, but I'm just wondering how effective it might be.

Here is a pic with a person next to it, so you can get some idea of the size, if you are unfamiliar with it.

I'm wondering if this would be an effective composter given its size.

(cross posted to gardening http://community.livejournal.com/gardening/)
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Compost tea and marigolds. [Jan. 19th, 2011|11:06 pm]
There's a world beneath your feet.

So, crazy Ukranian (I'm guessing) has inspired me to post to this thread since it's been a while. Also, I'm reading a book about starting things from seed. Usually I'm too lazy to start things from seed, especially when that means starting them indoors. What are your thoughts on this?

The book says that I should plant marigolds to keep nematodes at bay. I'm in Maryland and don't seem to have a problem with nematodes, but I like marigolds so why not?

The book also says to give certain plants compost tea to increase nitrogen and thus increse leaf production. My game plan there is to put several scoops of well-rotted compost in buckets of water and leave 'em for a few weeks in April, then put them on the veggie garden and on the flower garden.

I'm also going to burn some small branches that are too big to decompose all the way. It seems that ash is good for a veggie garden...not sure about a flower garden.
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I thought this was relevant! [Nov. 27th, 2010|03:39 pm]
There's a world beneath your feet.

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Anyone using the Worm Factory 360? [Nov. 22nd, 2010|11:56 pm]
There's a world beneath your feet.


Hey folks, long time no talk.

Anyone else out there using the Worm Factory 360? We picked ours up over the summer and I started it in August. It's subsequently been too wet, too dry, too cold, and too warm. It's driving me crazy!

I was using the large Worm-a-way composting bin (20x24x12 inches) from Flowerfield Enterprises (Mary Appelhof’s company), but it was so big & unwieldy. Harvesting the 'cast & changing the bedding were all-day productions.

My basement runs about 50'F all through the fall, winter, & early spring. (In February, it drops to maybe 48, but that's as low as it goes). I used to slip a seedling warming mat under the Worm-a-way sometime in late December or early January & leave it there until March, just to keep it from getting too cold, but for the most part, it created its own little atmosphere of warmth and moisture. In fact, keeping it from being too moist was the only challenge, which mostly required throwing in more shredded paper on a regular basis. Pretty easy.

Then we switched to the Worm Factory 360. It's one of those stackable designs, albeit square. One thing about it is that they've got a "new" venting design (which didn't really matter to me, since I'd never used a stackable before). Unfortunately, the new design means that the fruit flies can get in & out quite easily, so they're breeding like crazy, but more distressing is the fact that it can't hold heat. The worms get cold and they climb down into the bottom portion, which is a small stand upon which the bins rest. They hang out on a plastic ledge so they don't end up in the leachate that collects down there (there's a spigot for draining it). Which means they're slowly starving themselves and my scraps aren't getting eaten.

Due to the fact that the stackable bins rest on this four-legged stand, I can't slip the seedling warming mat under it. So I draped it over the top and draped a towel over that to hold the heat in. And now the bin is dry as a bone. Fewer worms are hiding down in the bottom, but the bedding is not damp enough for them to move around & eat through the food.

I'd bring it up to the kitchen for the winter, but I'm not too fond of the fruit fly swarms. I'm debating going back to my Worm-a-way.

Any thoughts?
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