Green Initiative

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Worm Composting Video


Sunday, January 28, 2007

Back story

Vermicomposting was suggested to me by Payton Chung, co-founder of wpgi. Previously, my C3 ideas involved outside projects. I had been focusing on neighborhood litter cans that attach to fences. Humboldt Park is covered with litter and I had hoped to create a can similar to those in Wicker Park, except that my cans would say Humboldt Park on the front and on the sides say Beautiful Paseo in Spanish and something like keep it clean in Polish or Ukrainian. I was also keen on green roofs and a bicycle powered mulcher / public art project for our GreenHouse garden.
As I explored these ideas I ran into problems. Green roofs were out--too expensive. I could afford an area the size of my bathroom. The lady in charge of the organization that supplied Wicker Park's bins was most unhelpful. I had difficultly finding a manufacturer of the bins. The bike mulcher idea was moving forward; JW from the garden had a mulcher, bike parts are easy, and we could probably find a bike welder too. But I was concerned about the limited scope of people benefiting from the project--people who use and live near the garden. My impression from the C3 Leader training was that our project should benefit a more general population and be more educational in scope.
I thought about suggested projects from the C3 classes, like rainbarrels, but many of my neighbors rent. Since I missed a June class due to an out of town wedding, I didn't receive my funding until I completed an October class. By then, the weather was getting chilly and summer projects weren't feasible.
As we tore down the garden and (gas) mulched the compost for the winter pile down, I was reminded of the beauty of composting. Sticks, stalks, leaves, and scraps break down to become dirt which become vegetables.
Vermicomposting was appealing because it would educate and change behaviors of a variety of people in the neighborhood. A big fan of cradle to cradle thinking, where waste equals food for another process, worm composting was the perfect thing to do when it's too cold to compost outside. It was a less selfish than the bike mulcher. next time...
We began to researching worm composting. JW donated a fancy pants Australian worm bin and the experiment began. I tried out hybrid design adapted from the Aussie bin and the OSCR Junior bin with a few of my own refinements, like the tippie quick pour hole and the dual size bins where the base is deeper for more air. I learned that hard plastic can crack when you drill it, so like plaster walls, a little tape first helps. Worms like the dark so clear plastic is discouraged, however I decoupaged three sides of a plastic bin for scientific observations.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

worm log

smell gone, standing water gone, nice to know.
spritzing w/ ironing spray bottle works nicely, a nice mist
massive pile eating peach, james are you in there?
little white dots on fruit and elsewhere...time to move it to the basement? hmm...
how to make mesh screen, is that too complicated for beginner wormer workshop...
how necessary for indoor... wouldn't want to start 'em out on wrong foot. perhaps provide 'extra credit' hand out.
added egg shells, covered w/ shredded paper.

donation wish list

small cardboard boxes
shredded paper
drills ask deidre,

personal- need shredder oil


Better than a pet rock: Urban Worm Composting Workshop
Do you want to take your smelly garbage out into the cold, dark alley more frequently? What a hassle.
Do you want to feel more anxious about identity theft? No way.
Do you have a basement or a dark corner?

Learn to conveniently compost kitchen scraps, credit cards bills, even grocery bags!
High tech, low maintenance, affordable (Heck—they’re free), and on the premises...

Worm Composting Workshop
Sunday, November 19th @ 4 pm
Acme Art Works
1741 North Western Avenue

Show up and receive a raffle ticket to win your own ready-to-go worm composting system.
10 prizes to be given!
Pre-register to seal the deal: or Maureen @ (773) 384-2614

Compost today-make all of our lives better.

Please forward.


survey ideas:
list 10 items from your trash that you could compost
(provide suggestions to circle)

how many ____ do you toss?

x y of z @ weight

x = number
y= qty, inches
z= item ( egg shells, rotted veggies,

ex. inches newspaper
inches printer paper

investigate weights of average items of trash

Thursday, November 02, 2006

venues to investigate:
happy village, call
Heaven Gallery (Dave) not open on sunday
Around the Cayote (allison f.o. A.W.)
Spare Room, artist space???
ACME 773.278.7677
Wicker Park Field house, reserve a room
Mercury Cafe Tel: (312) 455-9924
Fraction Work Space
Image Cooperative, what space? cool garden and group, however
St. Mark's Church

worms c.$20/lbs
18/lb bulk order
$11/lbs bulk
coir $3
a/ target red/green $4x3=12

tip: empty water collection base tray often enough that water doesn't collect and start to stink. I dumped the smelly (anaerobic?) compost tea into a struggling spider plant and left it on the porch. If it doesn't freeze to death it might perk up a bit.
catie is filming the documentary! yea!!!!

need folders for info packets, qty?
tips sheet
stringent organic sheet
your first week sheet
resources sheet? where to buy more...
worms in coir prepackaged in???? brown bags, cardboard boxes...shoe boxes? where my girls at?

slogans: Worms: better than a pet rock

lonely? maybe you would feel better if you had a pet.

worm composting: waste = food

Composting: life over death. Witness the wonder of God in a box (in your basement)

Thursday, October 19, 2006

worm log

no smell yet. today will be the turning point... I just added a way wilted, soggy head of romaine to the top half of the first tray and covered it with shredded mail. bye bye credit card bills. it is becoming apparent that becoming organic will take some planning....Does the makeup of the worm bin matter? Levels of outgassing from container? Toxicity and makeup of paper and inks. trader joe flyer is okay. merely i am in the pilot phase, just trying to keep what's dead dead and what's alive alive.
The worms are thriving. Babies are born. I was shocked and bemused at the shiny emerald sacs attached to the now white celery stalks. Venus of wormiwonder. This is good because i need more worms... I have a lot a garbage. suggestions to chop worms in half appear to be poor advice upon research. worms have several key organs that cannot stand alone. The bigger half will regenerate the amputated segment, whereas the shorter piece will wither. Still only one worm population explosion might be a good thing for me.
It's getting cold out. I hauled out my winter clothes from storage. The worm bins might go into my basement and even my storage locker if my landlord get creepy. worm discrimination? who knows? that's why i'm monitoring the smell-o-meter to document my case. Several Indians have told me about local composting silos where cow dung, and just about everything else cooks through itself to become fertilizer.
Worm bin #1 was constructed from three plastic portable hanging-file-folder containers. I got them from kmart for 9 bucks each, i think.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

worm log

worms were received on Oct. 3rd, started in shredded paper, coir, and soil. I added celery and egg shells last week. still no smell...

Saturday, June 10, 2006