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Posts Tagged ‘sustainability’

The Wriggly Wranch Worm Bin is designed with two different tiers. When the  first tier fills to the line inside the bin, you add the second tier and start feeding and add some new bedding. The worms will usually go wherever you are feeding them but oftentimes there are a few that stay behind. Here are a couple of tips from our Master Composters to speed up the process of harvesting:

1. Irresistible Foods Method: Add some melon or avocado to your bin. The worms will not be able to resist and will all  congregate in the same area  to eat. After a couple of days, physically move them where you want them to go.

2. Sun Method: Dump the contents of your bin on a plastic tarp outside in the sun. The worms do not like light so they will burrow to the bottom. You can even make cones of compost and take off the tops to speed up the process a bit.

3. Slurry Method: One of our Master Composters suggests putting some of your vermicompost in a bucket of water. Once in the bucket, the worms and compost will separate and you can quickly rescue your worms and put them back in your bin. Pour out the extra water and add your compost to your garden!

4. Waiting Method: Your worms will eventually move to other areas of your bin as long as you continue to feed there. If you happen to accidentally grab some worms with the vermicompost don’t worry too much about it. Red wigglers reproduce very quickly and your bin will not be affected.

Have any other tricks for harvesting?? Leave a comment and share them with us!

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Saturday, October 2nd, 2010
10 – 12 noon
Crestridge Ecological Reserve
1171 Horsemill Road
El Cajon (Crest), CA 92019

Learn the basics of backyard composting and vermicomposting including bin set up, maintenance, harvesting, and more! The workshop will be held at Crestridge Ecological Reserve during the Earth Discovery Institute Native Plant Sale. There will be a limited number of compost bins available.

Please register online at www.solanacenter.org or by phone 760-436-7986 ext. 222. Workshop is provided by the Solana Center for Environmental Innovation and the County of San Diego.

Register today!

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The next Master Composter Course starts September 27th!

Learn the ins and outs of composting, meet new people, and teach others in the community about composting!

Dates: 5 consecutive Mondays – September 27th – October 25th

Time: 6-8:30pm

Location: Encinitas

Application Required: Please click here

The Master Composter Program is designed to extend composting information to the public through volunteers who have successfully completed a comprehensive training program. There is a $30.00 materials fee, payable at the first class session. There is also a required textbook, The Complete Compost Gardening Guide, by Barbara Pleasant and Deborah L. Martin. This book will be available for purchase at the first class for $25.00, or you may purchase a copy elsewhere.

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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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There are several things to keep in mind when setting up your composting station:

  • Sun or shade?

A worm bin is best placed in the shade. The worms will not fare well in hot temperatures or during a deluge of water during a rainstorm. By placing them in the shade, they will be more protected from the elements and less likely to dry out.

As for a regular compost bin, direct sunlight does not cause the compost pile to heat up. The microbes working busily inside the compost are why the pile heats up. With this in mind, keeping your compost bin in the shade will decrease water evaporation. Also, people are more likely to turn their pile if they do not have to go out into the hot sun to do it.

  • Dirt or cement?

For a compost bin, it is best if it is placed on the dirt. This allows the beneficial insects to crawl up into the bin.  These insects will speed up the decomposition process and are naturally occur in a healthy compost pile. Put hardware cloth or wire mesh underneath the compost bin to prevent the larger animals from digging underneath and into the bin. If a compost pile is set on cement, it is likely that the cement will be stained.

For a worm bin, it does not matter if it is placed on cement or on dirt. It is more important that the bin is in the shade. People often even keep worm bins inside their garage, under their counter, or in a closet.

  • How close do I want my compost bin to the house?

Most people do not want to put their compost bin directly up against their house because of smell and pest attraction fears. If you are composting correctly, neither of these problems should be of issue. How close you put your bin to your house should more so be determined by hose length (if your bin is further away than your hose is long, you’ll be lugging buckets over to your pile!) and ease of use. If you don’t see yourself hoofing it across the yard to dump out your kitchen scraps, then you probably shouldn’t put your bin all the way across your yard. As for the pests and smells, err on the side of caution. If something goes wrong in your pile and it starts to smell or you get an unwanted visitor, it’s better away from your house than directly under your kitchen window.

  • How much room will my compost bin need?

If you plan on being an active composter and turning your compost pile, it is important that you have a space twice the size of your compost bin. This allows you to turn and then rebuild your bin directly next to where it was previously sitting. Turing your bin increases air flow and allows the microbes to break down the material more quickly. If you plan on having a more passive bin, this is obviously not necessary, though you probably want a little room around the bin so it can be accessed from all angles. Worm bins, on the other hand, do not need extra space.

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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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Join us for A DAY WITHOUT A BAG today, December 17th!!!!! Give up using single use bags for 24 hours!!!!

We will be giving away reusable bags at the following locations:
Encinitas City Hall 10am-6pm
Encinitas Community and Senior Centers 10am-6pm
Encinitas Public Works 10am-6pm
El Torito Market 4-6pm
Henry’s Marketplace, 1327 Encinitas Blvd. 4-6pm
Ralphs 125 N. El Camino Real 4-6pm
Seaside Market 4-6pm
Smart and Final 479 Encinitas Blvd. 12-2pm
Stater Bros. 1048 N. El Camino Real 4-6pm
Trader Joes 115 N. El Camino Real 4-6pm
Vons 262 N. El Camino Real and 453 Santa Fe Drive 4-6pm
while supplies last (one per household)

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