I was happy to hear from the Beaver County Times when they said they wanted to include me in an article as a part of their environmental series called “Veil of the Valley”. This article, titled “A soiled past, a natural future”, covers the issue of fertilizer run off and it’s effects on the environment.
Growing up in Maryland, fertilizer run off is something I learned about starting in elementary school. The Chesapeake Bay watershed is the largest on the east coast, and even 60 miles away from the water you will see signs above sewage drains saying, “CHESAPEAKE BAY WATERSHED”(probably painted by some school kids on a field trip learning about the environment). Nonpoint source pollution is one of the reasons I got into composting in the first place.
Even though Pittsburgh isn’t in the Chesapeake Bay watershed, the effects of fertilizer run off is still seen in the rivers running all the way down in the Gulf of Mexico. Naturally made fertilizer is often seen as a healthy solution because it doesn’t have excess chemicals- even so, the more important issue I like to bring up is the fact that naturally made compost builds healthier soil by increasing important beneficial enzymes and bacteria, that in turn help the soil hold excess nutrients for much longer- extending the life of your yard or potting soils for future seasons.
Along with a farmer from Oak Spring Farms, Shadyside Worms was able to join the conversation about natural fertilizers like our worm compost, as a healthy and sustainable alternative to synthetic fertilizers. If you want to know more about it, check out the article below:
Veil of the Valley: A soiled past, a natural future
compost tumbler (sorry for the poor image quality)
Yesterday I visited my good friends Riva and Jake to help them with their compost and I thought I could use the visit to talk about some common occurrences with composting.
Riva and Jake use a large compost tumbler[pictured above] to discard all of their food scraps. Tumblers can be really useful for this, and it’s also kind of fun cranking the gear and watching the scraps break down over time. Compost tumblers use heat and bacteria build up in order break down food. This tumbler is about 3 feet long and two feet in diameter. As food collects, the bin is designed to trap in heat, and along with some naturally occurring bacteria the food eventually turns into compost. By adding some leaves and grass, and rotating the bin from time to time, Riva and Jake were adding necessary carbon material to their compost to avoid having the more foul smelling anaerobic bacteria build up.
Unfortunately what happens with compost bins that utilize heat as the primary source of decomposition is that there is often times not enough heat and bacteria generated to break down the compost in the time you need. In this tumbler, there is around a year’s worth of compost collected, but it is only decomposed about 70% of the way. It hasn’t quite reached the earthy smelling compost that you can use as fertilizer, but the available space for more scraps is running out.There is also a bigger environment for unwanted bugs at this point. Using worms in this type of bin would not be possible because worms don’t enjoy the heat. This bin would roast them before they could eat any of the scraps. For a compost bin with this design, one option is to start a new bin, and let the collected compost sit for a nice hot summer. By the following season it should be just about ready. This isn’t always an option though, as this bin already takes up a lot of space on their back porch.
If you are in need of some composting space, or would like to try a worm bin, please let us know and we can come to your home and help haul away your old food scraps and perhaps help design a new system for you. Depending on what stage your compost is in, and how much you have, we will try to swap it out for some of our fresh useable compost!
We are totally excited about picking up your food scraps!
In order to register you for the compost exchange program, we would like to meet you in person and talk to you about what size bucket suits your needs, when and where you would like us to pick it up from your house(weekly or bi-weekly), and just some general information so you can get started hassle-free.
Please visit our page on the compost exchange and scroll to the bottom to leave some contact information for us. We will get in touch with you and set up a time to meet and bring you your bucket.
“Hey Mr. Worm!”
The kind folks at Shadyside Worms are experts in rotten food and wiggling wormies, but not so expert in webpage blogging, etc. Please allow some time for us to develop this site so we can provide you with all the information you will need for worm composting and our compost exchange program. If you are interested in our curbside compost exchange service, please e-mail us to get you started with an incredibly simple registration. We hope to make this process easier on the website in the near future.
If you have any other questions for us, please let us know. Thanks!
“yum” says the worms.