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Posts Tagged ‘food scraps’

Saturday, January 22, 2011
10 – 12 noon
San Diego Botanic Gardens
230 Quail Gardens Dr.
Encinitas, CA 92024

Saturday, February 5, 2011
10 – 12 noon
Water Conservation Garden
12122 Cuyamaca College Drive West
El Cajon, CA 92019

Monday, March 14, 2011
2-4 p.m.
Welk Resort Farmer’s Market
8860 Lawrence Welk Drive, Escondido, CA 92026

Saturday, March 19, 2011
10 – 12 noon
Summer’s Past Farm
15602 Olde Highway 80
El Cajon, CA 92021

Learn about the ins and outs of backyard composting and vermicomposting at this free workshop! Workshop will include information about selecting a bin, maintenance, harvesting, and more! A limited number of compost bins and worm bins will be available for purchase after the workshop.

Click here to pre-register now or to view a full list of upcoming workshops!

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If your bin becomes too acidic, too moist, too dry, too compact, full of rotting food, full of  food they don’t like, too hot, too cold or they just organize an expedition,  your worms can attempt an escape from your bin.  This thwarted escape plan (if your lid is on tight) ends up with many worms in your bottom collection tray.

To rectify this situation add water to the collected liquid in order to dilute the sediment and ease its flow through the sieve.  Then strain the liquid through a sieve or small holed colander, rinse the collection tray out and reassemble the worm bin.  Add the worms, collected in the sieve, back into your top working tray.   If you clean out the bottom bin regularly you can save all your wayward worms and keep the liquid fresh and in top condition.  Dilute the liquid with 5-10 parts tap water before adding to your garden.    Remove the chlorine from tap water by letting it stand in the sun for several hours.

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Chopping up your compostables will speed up the decomposition process. The smaller the surface area of the material generally the faster it will break down. One easy way to do this is to chop up your materials as you collect them. For example, when you are cooking, you can chop up your scraps as you go and add them to your collection container. If you are working with dense woody materials, such as sticks, we recommend chopping them up or grinding them if you can as they will take a very long time to decompose. A tip from our Master Composters is to put your green materials from your yard in a bucket and use yard clippers to chop them up before adding them. Chopping up your materials is not essential. The process will just take longer.

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Crock Pot Composting

How to make the ultimate worm food!

By: Diane Hollister, Master Composter

Worms have no teeth, so they can’t consume the kitchen scraps you feed them until the scraps are broken down a bit.  You can do this yourself very easily by putting your food waste in a crock pot.  Here’s what I found works.

1.  I bought an inexpensive 5 qt. crock pot from Target for around $20.

2.  Put about ½ cup of good compost or some soil from around any plant that is growing well.  This will provide the microbes needed to break down the material in the pot.

3. Add kitchen scraps, the smaller they are cut up the faster they will break down.  Crushed egg shells are great to provide grit.

4.  Put the lid on and set the crock pot on warm.  Check the temperature in 24 hours.  In mine, the temperature was 140 degrees, which was ideal.

5.  Stir when you think about it and add water to keep it moist.

6.  If the contents start to smell, add some paper from your paper shredder, some compressed pine pellets (sold as kitty litter), some coir or any other small sized carbon rich material.  Mix well.  If it still smells add more carbon.

7. In about a week everything will be nicely broken down.  Let it cool and feed it to your worms.  They will go crazy for it!

I found you can add meat and dairy to the pot as there is no problem of rats getting into it.  Also, if I think about it I turn the pot off at night and back on in the morning and that works fine too.

If there is more material than your worms can process, just bury the rest in your yard or add it to your compost pile.

Leave about a cup of material in the pot to start your next batch.

Have fun!

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What ratio of Carbon to Nitrogen should I use in my compost pile?

The ideal Carbon to Nitrogen ratio (“browns” to “greens”) in a compost pile is somewhere between 25:1 and 30:1, depending on who you talk to and what you are planting. Some composters take the more laissez-faire approach, throwing in whatever they have when they have it, letting the C:N ratio be whatever it is going to be. Other composters strive for C:N perfection, researching the C:N ratio of certain materials and measuring the amounts of those materials that enter to pile to ensure the desired ratio.

Many of us do not have the time (or patience) to spend the time figuring out the perfect ratio for our pile, but still want to guarantee a great finished product. No need to fear, the “Compost Calculator” is here! This great resource allows you to enter how much of what type of material you have and then will tell you your C:N ratio! Easy as compost!

For example:

1 bucket of fresh cut grass + 1/4 of a bucket of fruit scraps + 2 buckets of dried leaves = 30:1 C:N ratio!

mix it up a little and add:

1/4 bucket coffee grounds + 1/2 bucket of food waste + 2 buckets of wood chips = 26:1 C:N ratio!

Compost up your own recipe by visiting: http://www.milkwood.net/content/view/47/30/

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If you just made a fruit salad or cut up a large watermelon, you may have more material than can be fit into a worm bin at one time. It’s very convenient to stow this food in the freezer until the worms are hungry again, but will the worms eat this food after it has been frozen? Does the food need to thaw before it goes into the bin?

Yes and no.

Fruits and vegetables are 80-90% water. When water freezes, it expands, changing the texture of the food when it thaws. Humans may not like to eat mushy fruit and vegetables but the worms love it! Because worms do not have teeth, they can easily suck the mushy food into their mouths. If the food is easier for the worms to eat, it will disappear more quickly so you’ll be able to feed your worms more food!

Although worms do not like the extreme coldness inherent with frozen food, it will not kill them to put non-thawed food into the bin. The food will make a cold spot in the bin that the worms will avoid until it thaws to a more comfortable temperature. If it is warm weather, it will not stay cold for long. Then the worms will be all over the food like white on rice! As the frozen goodies thaw and the ice crystals melt, water will be introduced to the bin. If frozen fruits and veggies are going into the bin, additional water should not have to be added. If the bin seems to be getting too wet, add some shredded paper to absorb the excess water.

The worms will love this mushy treat!

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Saturday, January 9th, 2010
8am-10am
San Diego Zoo Otto Entrance
(one block south of main entrance)

Learn how to create rich garden soil, save water, and reduce trash at the landfill by recycling your kitchen scraps and garden debris at this FREE workshop.

Workshop is taught by trained Master Composters from the Solana Center for Environmental Innovation and cover how and what to compost using both a vermicomposting (worm) bin and a backyard composting bin.

Pre registration required. Please register online at www.solanacenter.org or by phone 760-436-7986 ext. 222. Limit 25 participants.

Click here to pre-register now!

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