It's been a few months since I posted about our fantastic bokashi composting system that I'm using for our kitchen scraps. (For more on bokashi, check out this recent article on Sustainablog.) We're now long since finished our first round with bokashi, and have been waiting to start the next step. (The plants that I fed the tea in the meantime have definitely perked up a bit, although some of them developed some white fuzz on the soil surface from the new beneficial microorganisms that the tea added.)
Enter our new tumble composter:
After a lot of research, I went with this one from Lee Valley, although it was more expensive than others on the market, because it had better reviews and the ability to make compost tea. It's also Canadian-made. (The other one I had wanted, while considerably cheaper, has been knocked by reviewers for a leaky hatch that also can let rainwater in, doesn't allow tea collection, and it's made on another continent.)
We do also have one of these things in our garden:
But by putting it in a really sunny spot next to the house to encourage the composting process, I also put it in too dry of a spot, and just couldn't seem to keep it wet enough to keep the process going. Drying out will be much less of an issue with our new rolling contraption.
Here are some photos of what we put in, back in early July:
- for the green stuff, some salad greens and veggies that were starting to go slimy in my fridge, some fresh lawn clippings and dandelion leaves, and trimmings from the garden (a lot of the weeds I get can grow from root pieces so I'll send those off with the garbage for my municipality to compost in their award-winning industrial-strength composting system instead)
- for the brown stuff, the top layer from our old composter - which are lawn clippings that have been left to dry out (we don't use pesticides or herbicides so I feel comfortable with that) - in about equal proportion to the greens already in the new bin
- the rather yucky contents of the bokashi composter, which are thoroughly pickled and just need the finishing step where the pH is brought back to neutral
- a couple of dried-up organic veggie transplants that never made it into the garden, along with the soil they were in
Oh, and a handful of the bokashi bran for good luck - even though this will be an aerobic process, not anaerobic like in the bokashi container in the kitchen - and a couple of handfuls of topsoil. I also rinsed the bokashi composter out with the garden hose, and poured that liquid into the tumble composter so that everything was nice and damp. Since then, we've tried to give the drum of the composter a solid tumble once a day. We haven't been super diligent about doing it daily, but the kids are pretty enthusiastic about helping to turn the drum.
Today, since we had more fresh grass clippings, dried grass clippings, some dead annuals, and kitchen scraps to add, we opened it to take a look. The volume of the material in the composter has reduced down, in the space of a month, from half-full to about a quarter-full, although it's not much lighter. The smell and the presence of flies definitely indicate that the material is rotting. I'll have to check with my composting gurus to make sure it looks like it is supposed to, but we never got the other style of composter to the point where is smelled, so I'll view that as progress. =D
After topping up the drum to about two-thirds full of material and giving it a solid tumble, I closed it up again, and the plan is to tumble it daily and check on it weekly from this point on. Wish me luck!
Saturday, August 13, 2011
Wednesday, August 10, 2011
This month I have a doozy of a reading list for you. Let's get right to it, shall we?
On Slow Food:
|A wonderful sign from Santorini, Greece, via.|
- On the recipe front, this looks like the easiest way to make ratatouille ever, and a great way to use the tomatoes and zucchini that are ripening in abundance.
- Jorg&Olif rounded up 5 of the best websites for vegetarian and vegan recipes: http://jorgandolif.com/consume/30-day-go-vegetarian-challenge-five-of-the-best-recipe-sites/
- Curious which proteins have the lowest environmental impact? Look no further: http://www.good.is/post/hold-the-lamb-eat-more-lentils-new-guide-ranks-proteins-by-carbon-footprint?utm_campaign=daily_good
- MSNBC report that eating fresher, healthier food adds considerable expense to your grocery bill - but buried in the piece are the crucial points that the study was done in an expensive place, and that even affluent, well-educated people do not know which foods to buy to get the "best nutritional bang for their buck".
- Slow Food Canada are running an event on canning - check with your local convivia for more details (mine has a Facebook event page set up for the workshop they're running this coming weekend).
- Hmm. Using gravity and a neapolitan coffee pot to make "slow coffee" sounds easier and more eco-friendly than figuring out a fancypants espresso machine.
- I'm planning to take my kids to a local, organic U-Pick then make up some of this jam recipe (from 2010) I found.
- Slow Money posted an in-depth piece on relocalizing our investments so we're supporting our local food systems, using a county in New York State as a case study. Details on their national conference in San Francisco in October are here.
- Fast Company reported on an Atlanta startup who are retrofitting shipping containers as hydroponic units for urban agriculture.
- Triple Pundit published a solid piece on why we need to look at things holistically to create a sustainable food system, instead of focusing just on eating local or becoming vegetarian.
- SlowFashioned defined Slow Fashion.
- Organic Girly summarized the stats on waste in the fashion industry.
- Here's a great article from one of my city's best print magazines, talking about why 'buy local' can be a harder sell for fashion retail. It makes me really sad to see a local independent fashion retailer suggest that customers think domestic handmade goods aren't made to the same quality standards as machine-made imported products (um what??).
- Work to covet by emerging Canadian designers. WANT.
- Somehow I missed this profile of muuse.com on Copenhagen Cycle Chic back in June.
- Don't Panic profiled ULTRA, a capsule collection of organic, made-to-order fashions out of Malasia that'll interest the minimalists among you.
- A catwalk in a back-alley to promote local slow-fashion producers? Portland has the coolest ideas.
- The incredible, covetable I Owe You line of traceable clothing, and the amazing Clothing Traceability project both got some blog love. Meanwhile, Marks & Spencer has committed to clothing traceability.
- SlowFashioned interviewed Feral Childe about having their designs stolen by a certain fast fashion retailer, who seems to have made intellectual property theft an unspoken part of their business plan.
- Ecouterre did an advance review of upcoming book Naked Fashion, and interviewed the talents behind the brilliant new sustainable fashion design education initiative, Guilded.
- Last but certainly not least, you MUST read the brilliant fashion commentary by Charty Durrant on the Etsy blog.
- It's hard to have a slow home if you don't have a design plan - here is a quick primer on creating one.
- Anja Light's upcycled, energy-efficient home in Australia was featured in Mind Food (PDF).
- SlowFashioned profiled new-to-North-America Unearthed Paints (the Euro version of American Clay natural plasters and clay paints).
- EcoSalon published a brilliant post on the Slow Furniture movement, and took a certain international fast-furniture giant to task for poor labour practices.
- They also did a great synopsis of sustainable prefab housing now on the market.
- Slow Home Studio have launched their new website, with courses and books available for sale in addition to their brilliant videos.
- Keep an eye on Apartment Therapy's Re-Nest website all month, it's Slow Home Month! So far they've summarized the Slow Home Manifesto (with lots of links to their own articles on each point), and talked about buying once and buying well, choosing smart multipurpose furniture, and the entry and landing strip - but there'll be much more to come.
- I've just rediscovered Australia's Slow Magazine. LOVE. Recent issues have included articles slow food, slow travel, slow art, Cittaslow, cycle chic, and lots of interviews.
- Living without TV. Could you make the switch?
- I've been inspired to put together a list of planned activities and a proper summer go bag and be intentional about the getting the most from the last few weeks of the kids' summer holiday. Yes, this means I won't be blogging so much. =P
- From SlowMama, some great advice for new mothers, and a thoughtful discussion about gift registries.
- If you're curious about homeschooling, Slow Family Living's upcoming webinar might interest you. (Starting with this post from the Simple Mom family of blogs might help too.)
- Create the Good Life! have two great new posts up, on tracking your personal happiness and ways to find balance.
- Further to my own post on Slow In The Suburbs: this.
- SlowMama mused on Slow Travel.
- An America-wide system of bicycle routes? Amazing.
- If you're thinking of taking your kids travelling with you, this is a terrific read.
- Here are some fantastic tips for making your summer (or anytime) holidays more eco-friendly.
- There were articles on rail travel in North America and around the world. I'd add that taking VIA Rail from coast-to-coast in Canada is one of the great rail tours of our time, although the vastness of our country means it takes most of a week. I took VIA when I was deciding which school to move to for grad school, and my sister also did the side trip to Churchill, Manitoba to see the polar bears. Incredible.
- Re-Nest profiled San Francisco's Good Hotel, and EcoSalon called our attention to Portland's Avalon Hotel & Spa, Cairo's Adrere Amellal, and Alaska's Sadie Cove Wilderness Lodge. Can I pack my bags yet?
- Skeptical Science published a must-see infographic on anthropogenic climate change.
- This story from the NYT of bungling of disclosure by officials in Japan about the extent of isotope releases from the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant accident makes me feel ill with worry for the families living in the region.
- National Geographic has a fascinating explanation of how the North American electrical grid works, and why investment in newer, smarter grid technology is necessary to allow renewable power source use, keep pace with demand, and prevent cascading failures that cause huge blackouts.
- Treehugger has a fantastic synopsis of recent writing and videos by leading urbanist thinkers, and a discussion of the heartbreaking UK riots by British architects. How we build our cities has never been more important, so these are conversations worth following.