Worms in the Morning, Worms in the Evening, Check your Worms at Suppertime

As anyone who tends a vegetable patch or fruit field on their property knows that they take constant maintenance, at all times of day. Cutting and watering should be done in the morning or early evening, weeding can be done anytime and pest repellents should be applied at night to ward off nocturnal critters as well as those that munch by day. That being said, your compost bin and the red wiggler worms inside your bin need your attention, although not quite as often. Red wigglers are a variety of earthworm that is used most often for composting. They need a specific pH to thrive in their worm bin home as well as the right moisture levels, the right food and the right temperature to allow them to create the nutrient-rich compost you can then use to feed your veggies, fruits, plants, shrubs and trees. Add compost materials to your compost bin in the evening so your nocturnal worms can feed at their leisure. Red wiggler worms are also sensitive to light and direct sun, so try to open your bin only on foggy or hazy days, or at dusk. The same goes for checking the moisture and pH levels of your bin – do not open your compost bin between the hours of 10AM and 2PM, to keep the hottest/ most direct sun off your worms. If you’re an early riser, you can always manage your compost bin maintenance in the wee morning hours before 9, your worms may …

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Earth Day is April 22 – Use the Day to Begin Composting!

Earth Day 2011 is April 22, and that means that our focus needs to turn to the steps we can each take as individuals to help improve the ecology around us. Composting is an obvious answer sine it allows us to reduce our garbage production by utilizing a bulk of our yard and food scraps as a basis to create nutrient-rich compost in our compost bins that can then take the place of chemical-based grass and plant fertilizers. Reducing garbage production slows the growth of our local dumps and trash heaps as well as reduces the harmful ozone-deteriorating gases produced by rotting food scraps. Replacing chemical-based fertilizers with compost in our yards and gardens reduces the harmful chemical runoff that often ends up in our local streams, lakes and waterways. They kill local wildlife and cause extensive damage to our natural water sources. Composting is not a complicated process – it takes a lot less time and effort than many people think, and the good that it can do both for the environment and your yard and garden are incredible. Even if you live in an apartment, you can have a compost bin or even compost with worms to do some good in your neighborhood.

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Welcome Summer by Revitalizing Your Worms!

Can you feel the warm sun on your face? Are you watching the big, fluffy white clouds track lazily across a deep blue sky? Spring is here and that means the red wiggler worms living in your compost bin may need a little TLC to revitalize them. Clean Up the Mess To make your compost bin a little more livable for your wiggly pals, try to remove any stray sticks or rocks that may have ended up in the bin. These barricades make it difficult for your wigglers to effectively do their job of aerating the compost and can slow down the process. Keep it Humid, but Not Too Humid Good humidity levels in your compost are crucial to keep your worms happy and munching away. The summer can bring dry heat that can make the top layer of your pile dry out and increase the temperatures of the bin beyond the composting temperature of 120 to 150 degrees F. To battle the dry-out and prevent a possible burn-out, move the bin to a shaded area in your yard during the hotter months. If necessary, trickle the hose over the contents to add a bit more hydration. Also, turn the materials a little more frequently to maintain proper moisture levels all through the bin. Bring Friends to the Party As living organisms, there is always a certainty that one day you’ll head to you bin and find a few of your wriggly little buddies has move on to that great …

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3 of the Most Common Misconceptions about Composting

There has been a solid wave towards adoption of composting as a practice both on the commercial and residential end in the last few years, but there are still some of you that may be wary of starting your own compost bin. Yes, my composting friends, some of your neighbors, some of your friends, even some of your family members may avoid taking the composting plunge due to the following misconceptions. Read on and then take it upon yourself to educate them: The smell. The number one fear of the compost-challenged, this issue is usually the first derailer of any potential composter and is not even a reality. No well maintained compost bin that is monitored regularly for pH and moisture levels will have any smell. Period. I won’t have a use for it. Compost is not dirt, it is organic feed for your garden and yard. You can use it for your grass, your trees, your flower beds and your shrubs. Have a little left over – give it to your neighbor. No time to manage it. Composting takes only a few minutes every couple of days to manage. Turning your compost, checking the pH levels and adding organic materials to your bin can all be done in a short time. While the setup may be a little intensive, once it’s ready, time involvement is very manageable. Better yet, composting with red wiggler worms takes even more stress off you in that they really do all the work, munching through …

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QUIZ: Is your Yard Ready for Spring?

Finally, the weather has started to warm and the ground is thawing. Soon, buds will be popping out on trees and flowers blossoms will be bursting forth. Is your yard ready for the explosions of spring? Take the following quiz to be sure you’re ready to enjoy the spring. Have you prepped your yard for new growth with lime or other ph balancing products? Do you have sticks and rock debris around your yard that needs to be removed before you can aerate? Have you trimmed back any shrubs or plants that will bloom this year? (Rule of thumb: wait until after March 17th in the northern US to avoid frost threats.) Do you have spotty patches of grass that need seeding? Do you plan on investing in fresh mulch or wood chips for your garden and flower beds? (Be sure to weed before your lay it down.) Do you have tree branches that could use a trim? Have you checked on your red wiggler worms in your compost bin to see if they need a little TLC? Is your compost bin ready for the warm weather? (See how to check that here) Use these questions as a guide to get started on caring for your garden and yard this year and enjoy the coming spring!

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Rhode Island Turns to Compost Options

Gathering at the Rhode Island School of Design, about 200 community eco-minded community members heard argument s for a Compost Initiative in the state. According to the Providence Journal ”The goal of the Compost Initiative, sponsored by the Environment Council of Rhode Island Education Fund and the Southside Community Land Trust, is to remove all food scraps from the Rhode Island waste stream. Doing that could create green jobs, extend the life of the Central Landfill, produce electricity to sell and help residents grow their own food or buy locally grown food, said Greg Gerritt, conference organizer. Gerritt said it’s a big job, requiring the cooperation of everyone who touches food. Waste haulers and commercial food handlers would have to find each other, entrepreneurs would be needed to devise products and systems, and facilities would have to be built for composting on a large scale, such as anaerobic digesters that also produce electricity for sale. Reese Howle of Orbit Energy said his company is planning to build an anaerobic digesting plant in Rhode Island that will process 150 tons of food waste a day. Orbit Energy is negotiating to sell to National Grid the electricity generated by the biogas the plant will produce. He said his company, which operates a digester in North Carolina, is pursuing contracts with Rhode Island food handlers that could supply food waste.” As the compost movement continues to sweep the nation, the question composting at home becomes moot. It is absolutely vital the community members …

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Time to Scrap in New York

No, this isn’t a new boxing event or even street fighting. This particular scrap focus refers to the expansion of GrowNYC to six additional Greenmarket sites, two in Manhattan. The compost continues to be a success in the city of more than 19 million people. According to the Gay City News site: “Compost drop-offs can now be made at the Abingdon Square Greenmarket, West 12th Street and Eighth Avenue, on Saturdays, from 8am to 12:30pm; and at the Tribeca Greenmarket, at Greenwich and Chambers Streets, on Saturdays, from 8am to 1pm. The scraps will be transported to a compost facility and turned into a fertile additive for soil for local farming projects and other uses.” The Union Square Greenmarket has hosted a compost collection site since 1994, organized by the Lower East Side Ecology Center. ‘You could throw a banana peel or apple core in the garbage, but that’s just wasting valuable energy,” said Quinn at the announcement earlier this month. “That’s why I’m thrilled to be able to support the opening of these new compost drop-off sites. And what better place to offer them than at the Greenmarkets, where many of the fruits and vegetables sold benefit from the rich, nutrient-filled compost New York City residents will be contributing to every time they drop their food scraps.’” Annually, more than 17% of the garbage in New York City is made up of food scraps. If a city this large can make an initiative to move to composting, it goes without …

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Spread the Word to Spread the Compost

Any good advertising is done by word of mouth. No matter how many ads, commercials, billboards (do people still use them?) or other forms of buzz building is used, nothing has the impact of over-the-fence or standing in the driveway chatter between friends and neighbors. Tom Watson, special writer with the Seattle Sun Times agrees, especially when it comes to compost. In a recent article, Watson faced the questions and curiosity that surrounds composting and requested that his readers “spread it around.” According to Watson, despite the continuous growth of the composting market, the movement simply is not happening fast enough. (read the entire article here) The final result, that rich, loamy, black and nutrient-filled compost, is not being utilized quickly enough or in enough areas of our communities to push the demand in the market. In other words, despite awareness and action on the part of many, the market is not exploding as it should due to a low demand. People (that compost) have enough compost for their yards, gardens, etc. Why speed up the process? Consider the effect of an entire community taking on the composting trend and making the whole town compost-oriented. Even as small borough of a few thousand people all composting and using the compost for their parks, school flower beds and yards and green fields, no matter what they harvest, would have an incredible effect on that local compost industry. Consider if 10 towns in every state did the same? The demand for compost …

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Get Back Outside with Your Red Wiggler Worms and Compost!

Finally. The birds are singing again, the air is warmer and fragrant with the smells of flowers and new grass. Spring is here. All your patience and diligence during the winter means that you can now get back outside with your worms and begin cultivating your compost! As the world wakes up again along with your compost worms, it’s time to take a look and see how they fared over the long, cold winter. Keeping up a ratio of about 500 worms, around ½ pound, for every cubic foot of worm bin will ensure the best composting. If you need some worms, remember to order our robust Super Reds (Uncle Jim Worm Farm’s renowned red wiggler worms). Remove the plastic or wrapping you used to insulate your worm compost bin the last few months and check the bin itself for any cracks, leaks or oversized holes. Keeping the moisture level in your bin is important for the lifespan of your worms. If there are excessive holes that will cause drainage to happen too quickly, it’s time to replace your bin. Once you verify the stability of your compost bin and your worms, layer in some materials to kick-start your worms into composting. Adding a little more brown material for a little extra heat can move things along nicely. A little TLC at this point will keep your worms happy and decomposing your material to the best of their ability. Throw on your galoshes and shuffle on out onto the (hopefully) …

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House and Lifestyle Maintenance for your Red Wiggler Worms: Compost 101

You’ve started composting with red wiggler worms, which, by the way, are the very best little natural farmers on the planet. They eat the residual organic materials and from it make the loamy, nutrient-enriched compost that can be used in yards, gardens and lawns to replenish and rebuild their natural strengths and beauty. Residing in a worm farm, your red wiggler worms need the normal TLC anyone living on your property would need. They need a place to live, they need that home maintained and they need food to eat to survive. Worm bins come in a slew of sizes and types, both for indoor and outdoor use. Depending on the size of your yard, house or apartment, you can choose the size and type of compost bin you want for your needs. The amount of food waste your household produces is a good indicator of how many worms and the size compost bin you’ll need.

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