Thursday, December 17, 2009

HowChow: The Worm Edition

I'm reviewing garbage. Seriously.

When you want food for yourself, you'll find great stuff at Howard County's organic markets. But you should ask at the same markets to get some food for your worms. Roots in Clarksville and MOM's Organic Market in Jessup will happily give you their old produce to add to your compost pile. They're crucial at this time of year when I have piles of shredded leaves, but no grass clippings on the horizon.

 Last winter, I got two pick-up loads of leaves and mixed in a dozen or more boxes of old vegetables over the course of the winter -- turning the pile every week or two and adding more vegetables when nothing recognizable remained. By spring, I had spectacular compost to start my own vegetable garden and a few thousand worms happily crawling through the pile.

Of course, this is a review. All trash is not created equal -- at least, it isn't packaged equally. First, Roots has a salad bar, so half of the trash is trimmings and cutting that break down fast. Second, Roots stores its trash in plastic bags. I'm super-grateful to MOM's for giving me their stuff, but it's often in open-slat produce boxes, which have leaked liquid in my car. Not a crisis, but you want to put down plastic to catch the liquid.

No  matter where you get the vegetables, you can break up any whole fruit by either stamping on it or cutting it with the edge of a shovel. Apples, squash, and cucumbers all compost faster if you bust them up and expose their inner flesh to the worms and bacteria that do your composting work.

In all seriousness, nothing improves a garden like compost, and nothing makes better compost than a mix of organic fruits and vegetables. Your worms will love you for it.

If you're going to get old vegetables, call ahead in the morning, and the produce folks will generally set aside a few bags/boxes for you. They like you to pick up in the afternoon.

1 comment:

momomom said...

Nice. I asked at Davids about this and they turned me down.

Starbucks will give you coffee grounds, also good for compost.