Monday, February 28, 2011

Vermicomposting: Update 2

The worms seem to be settled into their new home. They spend most of their time amongst the oldest food scraps in the bin. We added some more food scraps, but they’re still pretty fresh. I suspect the worms will let them age a bit before they start moving toward the new food. So far it seems like we produce more food scraps than the bin can handle. As the worms reproduce, we should be able to give them more food.


I’m sure that we lost some of them from their cross-country trip, but the ones that survived look pretty healthy. They’ve rehydrated and I’ve seen them munching on the food scraps. We haven’t had any try to escape the bin, so we must have given them a satisfactory home. Now I just hope that they are happy enough to make some baby worms!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Vermicomposting: Update 1

Today is my first day of truly vermicomposting! My husband and I purchased a Worm Factory 360 which arrived in our home one week ago. We ordered 1 pound of red wriggler composting worms (roughly 1,000 worms) from a worm farm in Pennsylvania and started saving up our produce scraps. Two days ago we filled the Worm Factory with our food scraps and plenty of moist bedding (mostly shredded newspaper). Then today our worms arrived. We placed them in our bin, and TADA, it's vermicomposting!

It will take a little while for the worms to get used to their new home. They were shipped in some dry moss, so they looked pretty dehydrated. When we placed them in the bin this morning, some were moving around more than others. We gave them a spritzing of water and I'm hoping that they can all perk up and start exploring the bin today.

Their first meal consists of a variety of goodies. There's some broccoli stalk, carrot peels, bell pepper stems, celery trimmings, orange peels, egg shells, used coffee grounds (with the filters), and used tea leaves (with the tea bags). That's all organic waste that would normally end up inside a plastic trash bag then dumped into a landfill. Landfills don't aerate, so the food takes longer to decompose, and the trash bag takes much longer to break down. Inside the compost bin, the worms should turn it into soil in just a few months.

In case you can't tell, I'm really excited about this project! I'll be sure to check in with more updates soon.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Going a Little (Worm) Crazy

As a citizen of this planet, I like to do my part to conserve the resources that we have available to us. My husband and I recycle our cans, bottles, and paper, even though we have to haul them to a recycling center ourselves. We try to remember to use reusable shopping bags (I can't promise that we don't forget sometimes). We also try to keep our gas consumption low. We own a few vehicles, so we choose to use our more fuel efficient vehicles as often as we can. This includes our Honda scooter (100+ mpg) when the weather permits.

But of course, there is always more that we could do. Our latest conservation adventure is vermicomposting! Vermicomposting is a process that utilizes worms to break down organic garbage like paper and food scraps. We recently purchased a Worm Factory 360. This will be our worm’s home, and it looks like this.

This plastic bin allows air to flow through the unit, promoting aerobic (odorless) decomposition right in your home. The worms live in the bin, eat your paper and food scraps, and leave behind worm castings for your garden or houseplants. We placed an order for 1000 red wrigglers (composting worms) and we are expecting them to arrive this week. I hope they like their new home and enjoy eating my garbage!

Monday, February 7, 2011

So Much for That Plan...

And the PE countdown is gone. I knew this was a real possibility, but I was really hoping it wouldn't happen. My application to take the PE in April was denied. Thanks to an unfortunate technicality, I'm one month short of the professional experience requirement to take the exam.

I'm bummed, but I'm making the best of it. My grad school has been really great about getting me signed up for a class at the last minute. And I'll just apply for the October exam date this fall.