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Posts Tagged ‘worm castings’

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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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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wormcastings1There are a number of ways to harvest castings from your worm bin from adding another tier to dumping the contents on plastic in the sun. Some of our  Master Composters even recommend adding some melon that the worms will migrate to. Depending on the type of bin you have, you may find some methods are more effective than others. What do our Master Composters suggest?

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Photo by Susan Wingate

Photo by Susan Wingate

Worm composting is a quick and easy way to turn your kitchen scraps in to soil-friendly worm castings. Though your worms do love to chow down on your fruits and vegetables, they can’t digest everything that comes out of your kitchen. What should we avoid feeding to our worm bins in order to promote healthy vermicompost?

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Great for composting kitchen scraps.

The Wriggly Wranch Worm Bin: Great for composting kitchen scraps.

Many people think that because they live in a condo or apartment that they cannot compost. It is true that outdoor bins are quite difficult for condo and apartment dwellers to use, however, there is another option. Vermicomposting, composting with worms, is easy and great for small spaces. Worm bins can be kept on balconies, on small patios, and even indoors. Food scraps, coffee grounds, and paper can be fed to the worms who will turn materials into rich vermicompost, or castings. Castings can be used as a soil amendment and natural pesticide. In addition, worm bins produce worm tea which can also be used to improve soil. You can purchase worm bins or even make your own. So no ifs, ands, or buts… everyone can compost!

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Saturday, September 20th

10 a.m. – 12 noon

Quail Botanical Gardens

230 Quail Gardens Drive, Encinitas

Vermicomposting is great for composting food scraps! Learn how to construct a worm bin to collect worm tea and castings for your garden! Vermicomposting is also great for condos and apartments because bins can be kept on a patio or even inside! Worms, castings and worm bins will be for sale at this event!

Pre-register now!

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