Sunday, January 25, 2009

Community Conversation

On Saturday, January 24th, MountainKeepers held the first community conversation. Over 75 people attended, some who had lived her all of their lives and others who had arrive 2 weeks ago. They each wanted to be involved in the future of our community. Everyone who was there had something good to contribute to the conversation.

We will be posting the results of the conversations on this blog, on our facebook page and on our website. We hope the conversation continues virtually and when we reconvene in the future. We haven't scheduled the next conversation although it is our intent to have another one soon.

One of the first bits of feedback one of the participants sent was about worm composting or vermi-composting. Marsha Walpole sent the following information about building a worm condo.

In the Composting conversation on Saturday, several people were interested in the plans for a two-sided vermi-composting box that I mentioned. I got the plans from Diane Rhoades great book Garden Crafts for Kids (Lark Books) that is unfortunately out-of-print, but that I would highly recommend to anyone who works with elementary and middle school age kids. There are usually a few available online from eBay and the like.

Anyway, for the "worm condo" as she calls it, you build a 3 ft long, 2 ft wide, 1 ft deep box. Then add piece down the middle long-ways the same size as the sides, except you'll want to cut 8 or 10 2-inch holes in it with a hole saw. Add a bottom to the box. The bottom of the box needs to have 8 or 10 1/2 in holes drilled in it to drain any moisture, although moisture won't be nearly the problem it is with a plastic worm box. You can add a lid if you want, but make sure it's propped open to allow air in.

To start worm farming, fill BOTH sides with bedding. Diane suggests newspaper with some garden soil and manure for the bedding. Moisten it until it feels like a squeezed-out sponge. Add your worms. Then you can start putting in your kitchen scraps. She recommends mixing them in gently or laying them on top and then adding more bedding. Don't fill all the way to the top. Keep the mixture moist but not wet. When the mix is close to ready to harvest, put all the compost and worms into one side of the "condo". Start the other side like you did at the beginning. Let the composted side start drying out while keeping the fresh side moist. As the composted side dries, the worms will migrate thru the holes in the middle board to get to the moist side with fresh food. You can then remove the dried out compost and start with fresh bedding and keep on going from side to side. As the worm population grows, you can start a new box or give some to a friend, or even put some outside in your garden.

If you are carpentry-challenged like me and need visuals, let me know and I can make you a copy of Diane's plans.


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