Too Much Coffee + Worms = Tears

I did an embarrassing thing last week. I added waaaay too many coffee grounds to my worm bin and suffered the consequences alongside my poor misshapen worms. Okay, so I didn’t suffer as much as my worms did, but it brought me to tears. My worms’ bodies were bulbous on one end and super thin on the other while their insides oozed onto my hands. It was traumatizing!!!!! I watched this happen and felt so hopeless. Here I was, comfortable in air-conditioning with an ability to get outside when I got tired of it. My worms, on the other hand, were weakened in a SUPER acidic bin with no way to crawl out. They instead burrowed deeper into the bin and wrapped around each other to stay alive. UGH D: I may have lost half of my worms. I am not sure yet.

I tried to remedy this problem by adding crushed egg shells and grass clippings, hoping to lower the pH.

Folks, if you drink a lot of coffee, be cautious of the amount of coffee grounds you give to your worm bin… it could turn ugly quickly.

Hopefully, I’ll still have some worms left over. Is that how survival of the fittest works? LOL GAHH! D:

 

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Compost pile #2 in Haiti

As many of you already know, I REALLY love composting. It is one of my many passions, and I get to focus on it while my stay in Haiti. I really lucked out on this opportunity thanks to Zach Wright and William Clark <3.

This compost, like the first one, was VERY hot. I tend to get overly excited on high nitrogen, maybe I am secretly pyro? I don’t know. However, I did use less hi-nitrogen compared to the first one. Below is the recipe.

60% Brown; Bagasse, Corn Stalk, and compost as an inoculant, 30% Green; grass clippings, and 10% hi-nitrogen; black bean.

I also had an opportunity to teach new friends how to build aerobic thermal compost pile! In the near future, they will teach others this wonderful science/art form and create a composting facility at a hospital here in Haiti! Yes! Winning!!!

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The difference between compost, compost tea, and extract

What is compost?
Compost is the end product of decomposed organic matter that is aerobic and full of active beneficial soil microorganisms.

What is compost tea?
Compost tea is soil microorganisms extracted from compost into a continually oxygenated water process with added foods to proliferate appropriate beneficial soil microbiology for 24-48 hrs.

**If well aerated, must be used within 4-6 hours.

What is compost extract ?
Compost extract is soil microorganisms extracted from compost into water.
**Must be used within 2-4 hours

Different methods of composting are static, vermi, and thermal.

Compost Maturity

“And while sensitive plant species and seedlings require a high degree of maturity, other plants, such as many field and row crops, orchards, pastures, and turf, are more tolerant of a compost’s continuing biological activity.”

Make sure that it is a vegetarian compost pile. If you use manure as your high nitrogen it is best to let it mature before applying the compost- for safety sake.

check out this PDF: http://www.compost.org/pdf/sheet_4.PDF

Lessons from Baby Jesus

We attempted to build a winter pile named, Baby Jesus… long story. We used llama manure, hay, wood chips, and leaves. The pile had  gotten very hot!

DSCN0839 However, did not stay hot for 15 days or made 5 turns within the time span. BUMMER! We’ll just have to try again. After the attempt I realized that I should of used 25% high nitrogen instead of 20% high nitrogen. The cold winter is teaching this Texan some things for sure.

1. It’s very cold and it is tricky to keep the pile hot enough for  certain span of time.

2. If you are wanting something, you really gotta slow down, observe, and  understand what is going on (very humbling).

3. I can not expect to be perfect, EVER! Just keep trying again and again!