Wednesday, September 22, 2004

It's About That Time...

I am making final preparations for harvesting the compost. I really need to come up with a plan. I have heard of several different methods, and am trying to decide which one will work the best for me. One way would be to separate, by hand, the Worms from the compost. This can be accomplished, supposedly, by making little cone shaped piles on a plastic sheet. The Worms will hide from the light, and you can scoop the compost away until all that is left is a pile of Worms. That seems messy. Also, I read about another way using a window screen. I think you remove the contents in the bin into another bucket, then place the screen over the bin. Then, spread thin layers of the compost on the screen. The Worms will wiggle their way through the screen and leave compost behind. I think I may try both ways, just so I can report back and let everyone know which works better. Maybe I will develop my own method.

Friday, September 10, 2004

Celebration!!

Yesterday my Worm Bin celebrated it's 3-month birthday! You know what that means - party time!! Just kidding. It means that it's almost time to harvest the usable compost. I will quit adding scraps for a while, and give the worms a chance to eat all the stuff in there. I do need to make sure there is still bedding for the worms to crawl around in. They like to move away from the "castings". Since it's their bodily waste, it's not quite appealing to them. Then comes the fun task of separating thousands of Worms from all the lovely compost they have created.
I am very excited to see how well my plants do from the amazing nutritive powers of the compost. I have a few plants that need a booster, they look quite hungry. The soil looks sad and crusty, even after I water them, and they have been asking me "When is it time to eat?". I sadly tell them "Please wait just a little longer!"
A fun thing happened in my kitchen. I had a giant piece of ginger sitting out for a while and it started to sprout. It seemed like a fun experiment so I planted in the dirt, and it's really thriving. Ginger is a root like a potato, and it seemed very much like when an old potato that never got cooked starts to sprout those interesting alien-like formations, excepted it was really pretty not really funny. I looked a pictures of full-grown ginger plants and they are beautiful.
One more thing: I am really bad at computer stuff and I don't know why my pictures don't work, so I stopped putting them up. Also, figuring out how to change the way the page looked seemed like a chore. Looking at code makes me want to poke my eyes out. So all the fancy stuff is on hold for a while. I am super busy right now, but will get to that when I can! Thanks for understanding!!

Monday, August 30, 2004

Zippy Zip: Summer Zips Away

Wow! Time flies! Well, I didn't get a chance to put up a post before going on vacation, and then somehow another week or 2 zipped by and now I see it's been a month since my last post. Sorry Worm Readers!! Honestly, you didn't miss much. The Worms are doing great though. I seemed to have balanced the sun/shade factor, and found a nice comfortable feeding level, and haven't had any insect problems to speak of. Except for a recent moth infestion, but I don't think it's related to the worms. Why am I always dealing with some sort of creature explosion in my apartment? And is this why no one wants to hang out with me? Oh well.
I have several inches of delicious looking compost in my bin now. There are still lots of chunks of eggshells and things mixed in, but I can see now that my Wigglers have been very productive. It won't be long now before I have some nice compost in there. How exciting!!
I read a great book recently - "Cradle to Cradle" by William McDonough & Michael Braungart. It has some great theories on sustainable design and ecology. Did you know that ants have a greater biomass than humans on this planet? Yet they manage to live without polluting and destroying and even cause good for the earth by aerating and enriching soil. If we humans could find ways to live and consume and help the planet at the same time, that would be fabulous. I think it can be done.

Friday, July 30, 2004

Heat, Dilemmas and Such

I think I jinxed myself. Or maybe I am just psychic. In a bad way. Today I got home, and the loft had an oddly stinky aroma. I looked around, and there was no obvious dead mouse or rotten bag of vegetables I forgot about. I took a look in the bin and the poor little Worms were sad and limp. It's like a million degrees today, and they must have been too hot. I moved them into the bedroom, which has our one AC unit, and I'm trying to cool them off a bit.

Now I have a little dilemma. I have been trying not to use the AC really, unless it's a heat wave and I can't sleep. My tolerance has greatly increased, it's neat. I do use a fan if it's a really hot night, and that is normally sufficient. I like open windows and fresh air (ahhhhh....that fresh Brooklyn air!!) If I am required to keep these Worms cool, it's going to take lots of electricity. Does composting justify the increased usage of power? I really don't know. If I had a bigger refrigerator, I could put them in there maybe, because that's already on anyway. But, for some reason, my landlord, let's call him "Buttman", installed the tiniest refrigerators ever. So, it's not an option. Where would the beer go? Hee hee.

Speaking of dilemmas, and this is off topic slightly, but related to beer (and sustainable living): I am living in an illegal loft. This means it's not zoned for residential use. It's supposed to be a factory or something. New York City only provides trash/recycling pickup for residential buildings. Buttman (the landlord) pays a private company to pick up the garbage. They are supposed to do a separate pick up for recycling, but since Buttman is shady he picks shady companies to deal with and they cut corners. I asked the city if I could take my recycling to a drop off point, but there is none. I am in the middle of a fun email correspondence with Robert Lange, the Director of the NYC Bureau of Waste Prevention, Reuse & Recycling. He is being resistant but has never encountered such a formidable and persistant force as Brooklyn Worm Girl. If you see him, tell him to watch out! He should just give in now, really. I'd hate to have to embarrass him in front of his friends!

Thursday, July 29, 2004

Gaga for Google

This is kind of exciting: now if you google "Brooklyn Worm Girl" or "brooklynwormgirl", guess what pops up? Me! Yay! I have arrived.
Now I just need to figure out how to make my page look good. Not that it doesn't, but I am still using a free template design, lame. I want to personalize it just a bit, and I am working on a Brooklyn Worm Girl logo.
Oh yeah, and the Worms are doing fine. They are munching along. It's eerie, really, just how peaceful it is in there. Almost like the calm before a storm...

Monday, July 26, 2004

Summertime Worm Fun!

My Worm bin looks great! The Worms are evenly distributed in the bedding, which is now beginning to resemble something slightly close to dirt. It's still a long way away from rich chunky soil, but the coffee grounds really do help the appearance. I think there is some real reason they are supposed to be in there, but I like the way it mixes with the stuff and looks dirty. I have been feeding them lightly but regularly. They eat it up and seem so happy! I have been developing this rotation schedule. After chopping veggies, I put the scraps in the freezer. Then I take out a pre-frozen batch and defrost it for a day or so. I let it thaw and get nice and juicy for them, and then feed them when they are ready. This seems to be working well. Today I added cabbages and sweet potato peelings to the freezer, and defrosted an enormous but sadly wasted bunch of basil. Luckily, it won't REALLY go to waste because the Worms can eat it. Hurray!

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

The Gods Must Be Weird

Um, yeah. In a fit of madness, or for the sake of scientific knowledge, I decided to make an incubator for them and see what hatched. I added a wet paper towel for bedding and put the jug in the window. The eggs are hard to see in this picture but there are 3 in there, I promise.



After a day or so, they hatched. Those little "seeds" were, in fact, fly pupae. Pupae are the form maggots manifest before turning into flies. It would all be quite fascinating, if it wasn't so ewwww. I guess I was hoping they would be Worms. Having no interest in keeping flies as pets, I decided to grant their freedom. That night, I opened the window and shook the jug so the flies would come out. But, I accidently dropped it. It fell on the the patio of the girl who lives downstairs. I imagine that she was pretty surprised to find a fly incubator, complete with airholes, sitting there in the middle of her fenced-in little courtyard. I was going to go down there to apologize for littering up her patio, but then I realized it all sounded a bit odd. How would I explain it? (If the Girl Downstairs is reading, I'm sorry I dropped my plastic jug on your patio and then left it there for you to clean up.)

Over the next few days, the remaining fly babies all hatched. It sucked. A typical mommy fly has around 100 babies at a time. I had to take certain measures I am not proud of to fix this. But, everything is back to normal now,pretty much. The Worms are doing fine. I also screened in my bin, so this will never happen again.

It's been a tough week.