Sunday, February 26, 2012

Vermicomposting.....As Beginners

Well friends, we have worms!! That's right, we have 2 pounds of worms(about 2,000 worms) in our house right now! In an attempt to cut back on our waste production, and with the desire to improve our soil quality we have decided to begin Vermicomposting(composting with worms)!

After much research we built our worm house out of two plastic totes. The inner tote has about 15 holes 1/2 an inch in diameter drilled into the bottom, with window screen covering them, allowing for moisture to seep into the bottom tote, a catch bin. We also drilled holes into the lid with another screen attached in order to allow ventilation.

Once we built our worm house we ordered our wiggly friends! We ordered our two pounds of worms from: Uncle Jim's Worm Farm. It cost $39.95 plus shipping/handling for our worms to be shipped to our door. We learned in our research that it is best to use red wigglers because they can "stand the heat" better, literally they are the best to stand the heat produced by the composting material. Our worms arrived a little on the skinny side, as they got a little hungry and thirsty on their trip, but the packaging included instructions on how to perk them up a bit. The worms once acclimated, produce their entire mass in casting a day (worm poop, the good stuff for composting), and adjust their numbers based the size of their container and quantity of food.

We collect our kitchen scraps in a recycled ice cream container(the gallon size) and freeze them for 3 days. We actually have 2 containers so we can rotate between collecting and freezing (well and cause we like ice cream!) The reason, I found out in my research, that you want to freeze the scraps is because it kills the gnat eggs that may be present in the food, and it helps keep down the odor. We have not had a problem with any smell though!

To get started we added a bag of top soil for the worms to get comfy in, and some shredded paper to regulate moisture and as worm food. Then we added the first of the kitchen scraps and our hungry and thirsty worms. After we added the worms we added a few cups of water to moisten everything. It was a pretty simple process all together!

After all that, we wait a few months and we will have nutrient rich compost to feed our garden!

A few sources that helped us get going:


Sunday, February 19, 2012


So one of our first projects for this Spring is tapping trees in order to make syrup. My husband Cody has some experience here, but this is a learning process for me! Here is a fun little fact about syrup: It takes approximately 40 gallons of sap in order to make 1 gallon of syrup! Seems like a lot of work for a little syrup right? Well here is a little comparison to give you some insight about why it is so important to make your own syrup (well, food in general)!

Ingredients in 1 bottle of store bought syrup:

  1. Water
  2. Sugar Syrup
  3. High Fructose Corn Syrup
  4. Cellulose Gum
  5. Salt
  6. Sodium Benzoate and Sorbic Acid
  7. Caramel Color
  8. Phosphoric Acid
  9. Natural and Artificial Flavor
  10. Corn Syrup
  11. Sodium Hexametaphosphate
  12. Molasses
  13. Malted Barley and Corn Syrup

Ingredients in one jar of homemade Maple Syrup:

  1. Sap

Big difference right?

The only processing needed to make our homemade syrup is extracting it from the tree via a hole drilled into the tree, and boiling down the sap to concentrate the sugar.

My personal belief is that if you can't pronounce it then you probably shouldn't consume it!

All natural or home grown food has less chemical ingredients and less processing. The more processing a producer does, the less healthy a food becomes, and the more expensive it is. These are just a few reasons we feel it is important to try to produce your own food as much as possible, and become less dependent upon large corporations.