I am not using the Sun-Mar 200 composting system anymore. It started to not work so well. The compost was not coming into the place where it is to be removed. I really think the Compact ComposTumbler is the best composter. Next time I buy one I will buy a Smaller Easy Spin ComposTumbler because our family is smaller now. We are not producing so many kitchen scraps. The thing is I really need two. When one is full it needs to sit and compost for a while. So in the meantime I would add my kitchen scraps to the second ComposTumbler. Read more about my experiences with the ComposTumbler:
Should I buy local or organic produce?
It was never a question for me until recently. I would buy organic produce. Lately, the organic apples aren’t so flavorful. They either come from New Zealand or South America, very far away with a large carbon footprint. Or, they come from Washington state which is still very far away.
I sampled apples at a Farmer’s Market
I tasted the apple samples at a local farmer’s market. They were so delicious but not organic. While talking with the owner of the orchard I learned that it is impossible to grow apples in the eastern US without fungicides because it is so humid. They use copper as a fungicide. It is considered organic and they use as little as possible. He said he runs his farm somewhere between Integrated Pest Management (IPM) and organic. He is not surprised that the imported apples lack taste because they irrigate them so well so they contain a lot of water.
An Interesting Story . . .
Then this farmer told me an interesting story. His farm backs up to the organic orchards of the local university. They are doing research on growing organic apples on the East coast. They use organic fungicides. When they harvest the apples they wear protective suits. So, some chemicals, even though they are organic, still can be harmful. So the question is what chemicals are considered organic by the USDA.
This was a real eye opener for me so I researched it. The Organic Materials Review Institute lists all the chemicals approved for use in organic farming. There are over 2000 products on the list. You can do searches on organic products to see if they are approved or not.
Buying Local Produce Supports Local Farmers
We need to support our local farmers but only if they are good stewards of the land. The term “locavore” was coined by Jessica Prentice for World Environment Day in 2005. Ronnie Cummins talks about this in his article, What’s wrong with Local Food: Local & Organic Food and Farming: The Gold Standard : “Prentice’s goal was to challenge people to obtain as much food as possible from within a 100 mile radius. In 2007 the New Oxford Dictionary selected “locavore” as its word of the year!”
If we don’t support our local farmers they could disappear. I enjoyed talking to the owner of the apple orchards. We also talked about growing delicious tomatoes. I could see that he cares about the quality of his produce. It is important to know who is selling food at the farmer’s market and that they are really farmers and not selling food from a wholesale warehouse. John Cloud has an excellent discussion in his article: Eating Better Than Organic from Time magazine, if you would like to learn more about eating local.
Folded Newspaper Absorbs Excess Moisture in Worm Bin
It has been amazing how folded newspaper absorbs excess moisture in worm bin. But when life gets very busy getting kids off to college, sometimes I miss how wet the worm bin has become. So, I still try to check my worm bins once a week to make sure the worms are doing well–not too wet or dry and no nasty odor. One worm bin was getting too wet on the bottom so I knew it was time to fold up some newspaper to absorb the moisture at the bottom of the bin.
Moving Around the Worm Bedding Aerates the Bin
In the process of checking I move around the bedding, looking at the bottom of the bin. This actually aerates the bin, giving the worms oxygen. I didn’t have time to shred newspaper or cardboard so I used folded newspaper in the worm bin which I wrote about in a previous post.
Folded Newspaper Absorbs Moisture in Worm Bin Very Well
Now around a week later, I see that the folded newspaper worked very well. It absorbed the excess moisture quite nicely.
I used about 8 folded newspapers because there was a lot of moisture, though not enough to go out drainage holes if there were any. I removed it and laid it on top of the worm bedding to keep the bin damp. Because I had so much newspaper I laid it out in some other bins also. I replaced the folded newspaper with lots of dry, shredded newspaper and cardboard in the bottom of the bin. Then I piled the wet bedding on top and now we are good to go!
If there is too much moisture in the worm bin, it could be that you have too many worms in there. Or you could be feeding them too much high moisture food. Anyway, if the worm bin is getting too wet in the bottom it is time to make some changes. Maybe separate out some worm or feed drier foods–maybe not so much watermelon rind even though they love it! You could also add more bedding. Try to evaluate if there is a problem. If there are a ton of worms in there I would definitely take some out and make a new worm bin.