They’re back! Who wants to borrow a worm bin, and jump inside the rot tub?

Our vermicomposting worms are back!

the green vermicomposting bin and observation station at the Audubon Farm and Food Expo, as part of the UCONN Master Composters' Greenwich Compost Gals Exhibit
the green vermicomposting bin and observation station at the Audubon Greenwich Sustainable Farm and Food Expo, as part of the UCONN Master Composters’ Greenwich Compost Gals Exhibit

The GEC Mushrooms will welcome back our classroom composters tomorrow after their appearance at another fun Greenwich event (maybe you will even spot them on TV!).  We are so happy to feature our green bin of composting rock stars and be able to share their story with anyone interested in indoor kitchen-scrap composting.  We’ll also be opening up the new traveling “rot tub” to our Mushrooms tomorrow.  Kids can climb inside this giant cardboard bin, learn where their waste goes, and imagine what it feels like to have the fantastic job of working inside a compost bin!

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inside the “rot tub,” created for GCG Mentor Day
Our green worm bin at the GCG Mentor Day
Green worm bin on the right (with potatoes growing inside) at the Greenwich Community Garden Mentor Day.  Next to it is the observation station.

About our vermicomposting bin

It is always fun to peel back the top layer of paper bedding inside the bin, to reveal the workers below, turning kitchen scraps into compost for our gardens.  People are amazed to hear that this thriving compost bin has been nurtured by our toddler group at the GEC, the Mushrooms, who have been caring for them each week in our classroom, with sprays of water, fresh shredded paper, food scraps, and their enthusiastic observations.

Worms on Tour Dates 2015

Town of Greenwich Conservation Commission Earth Day Month Event,

Explore the Secrets of Soil Day, April 26, 2015

Greenwich Community Garden Mentor Day, May 17, 2015

Audubon Greenwich Sustainable Food & Farm Expo, May 30, 2015

Coming Soon to your Classroom… ?

Going forward, the GEC is able to bring the green vermicomposting bin into classrooms, and can also bring you the “rot tub,” as part of a nature play session.  We encourage classrooms to borrow a separate working small bin for a week and become part of the story of soil.  We’ll help guide you through the soil-storytelling process, and can’t wait to build this new program together.

Fifteen years to build a worm bin

It has been pretty smooth taking care of this micro-community so far.  It began with a small number of red wiggler worms that have been very comfortably living in a well-tended worm condominium in the GEC Horticultural Building and greenhouse.  Since moving them to their green bin, we have had no flies, odor, or pests, which makes it sound super easy, but this small Vermicomposting project was 15 years in the making.  Ms. D first constructed the green bin as part of a student project at Pennsylvania State University, then attempted vermicomposting again (although they didn’t survive) after a NYC Compost Project workshop.  The real success of this bin began when she joined the UCONN Master Composter program and was able to improve the ventilation and drainage in the bin, and take out some materials that can be trickier to work with.

The Rot Tub

If you also love to play and build with giant cardboard boxes and empty water bottles, like Ms. D, you can build it too!  Here’s our first prototype:

The giant cardboard “rot tub” at the Greenwich Community Garden Mentor Day – you choose where your waste will go
Rot tub:  where does your waste go?  The Greenwich PTAC Green Schools provided us with information about where Greenwich waste goes.
Rot tub: where does your waste go? The Greenwich PTAC Green Schools provided us with information about where Greenwich waste goes.
on the back of each bin, a photo of where the waste will go – here, a view into a waste to energy plant and landfill, on the back of our “REDUCE” WASTE bin.
and if it's composted, what happens to it?  Care to climb inside and see?
and if it’s composted, what happens to it? Care to climb inside and see?

About the UCONN Master Composter & the Compost Gals

Creating compost recipes with the Compost Gals

As part of the UCONN College of Agriculture and Natural Resources Master Composter Program, professionals from around the state, over the five week program, helped us all to understand the ideal chemistry and biology of a compost bin.  They also connected us to a great network of soil and garden fans.  We discovered we had a whole motivated composting team in our town, and it has been wonderful to be part of a collective of Greenwich Master Composters in training.  We call ourselves the Greenwich Compost Gals.  Each of these local pros have been busy building and experimenting with different kinds of backyard composting, from spinning bins and garbage bags, to beautifully constructed wooden bins.  We have been eagerly sharing and collecting knowledge about leaf shredders, compost ingredients, and elbow grease involved in the various options out there for making “black gold”.  I think the Compost Gals’ enthusiasm for carbon, nitrogen, and soil, is enough to make you want to get your hands dirty too.

Which leaves compost fastest? How do we shred them? Simple backyard bins, simplified at the Audubon Sustainable Food & Farm Expo with the Compost Gals.

Big thanks to our Compost Gal Tour Partners (see the fliers from our tour below), and thank you to the experts at UCONN Master Gardening Program, and especially to the many folks who came up to ask questions and bring their own tips and enthusiasm for vermicomposting.

earth-day-month-flyer-04-26-2015

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