Author Archives: sandieanne

Start Worm Composting?

Are you excited about the idea to start worm composting?  Since I have been worm composting for over 10 years I would like to talk about the plusses and minuses of worm composting.  Vermicomposting is another term for worm composting.

Considerations to Start Worm Composting

Reasons to start worm composting:

  1. Great, fun, learning experience for the kids
  2. Way to compost food scraps
  3. Creating high quality compost for your garden or potted plants
  4. Keeping kitchen scraps out of the landfill
  5. Meditative experience for the adult
  6. Teaching kids to care about our earth and environment
  7. Demonstrating responsibility

Kids, Composting and Keeping Food Out of the Landfill

Worms gross out and scare some children.  And some children are excited to play with them.  If you give the scared and grossed out children rubber gloves to wear that seems to take care of the problem.  In my classroom experience and with my grandchildren the gloves gave them a new freedom to touch the worms.  Then these kids were just as involved and excited as the others.

Worms do a great job composting food scraps.  It is an amazing experience to watch the process!  You see the food waste just disappear and turn into dark compost that will be an amazing amendment to your garden or potted soil.

We waste so much food that ends up in the landfill.  By worm composting we can return this food to the earth or to our potted plants providing great nutrients that the worms incorporated into the compost.

Vermicomposting Can be a Meditative Experience

I say that this can be a meditative experience for adults.  Worm composting means maintenance. It means checking out the bin every week to see how things are going.  Is the bin too dry, too wet and are the worms consuming the scraps in a timely manner?  This can be viewed as meditative or as a pain in the neck.  Maintaining the worm bin could be considered as one of the minuses of the experience.  It all depends on how you think about it.  Personally I enjoy looking into the bin to see what’s happening and to make adjustments if necessary.

The worm composting experience inherently teaches children about our earth, its inhabitants and how to be responsible.  Feeding and taking care of the worms teaches responsibility.

Minuses of Worm Composting

The minus to worm composting is taking care of the worms.  This would be similar to any pet except that worms don’t ever need to go to the vet.  And you don’t have to buy food for them.  The food comes right out of your kitchen.  Worm composting is a time commitment.  Just because you start worm composting, doesn’t mean that you have to do it forever.  The process takes 3-4 months.  You can experience it and then give your worms away or put them into a compost pile.

Watch this video of my worms eating cucumber peels!

American Goldfinches Eat Purple Coneflower

I never knew that American Goldfinches eat Purple Coneflower (Echinacea) until several years ago. It was a wonderful discovery to be introduced to these American Goldfinchbeautiful birds with their startling contrast between brilliant yellow and black feathers. Only the males are these beautiful colors. As it often happens in nature, the female is usually subtly colored; I imagine so as not to capture so much attention! Of course in the winter the male loses his bright yellow colors and looks just like the female.

 

American Goldfinches Eat Purple Coneflower Partially Eaten

Purple ConeflowerI want to add a picture of a Purple Coneflower from the summertime.  So you get an idea what these seed pods used to look like in all their beauty and glory in the summer.

I was cleaning out my garden yesterday.  You know starting to cut out all the dead flower stalks from last year.  I noticed the remnants of the Purple Coneflower or Echinacea flowers. Some were still totally intact, some partly eaten and some completely devoured! I wanted to share these images with you.  The one above is partially eaten.  There are still plenty of seeds on this dried flower bud.  The lighter color that you see is where there seeds have been eaten leaving the under part exposed.  Contrast this picture to the one underneath where the seed pod hasn’t been touched.

Purple Coneflower Seed Head Untouched by the BirdsBy this time of year it is hard to find an intact Purple Coneflower dried flower head.  The birds are ravenous and even though, I have a special American Goldfinch feeder they still eat plenty of Echinacea seeds from the dried flowers.

 Did you Know that American Goldfinches Eat Purple Coneflower?

All Seeds Eaten from this Purple ConeflowerIf you have Purple Coneflowers in your garden and the dried flowers look like my pictures then you know some bird has been eating the tops .  Maybe you already have American Goldfinches visiting your garden.  The last image that I have for you above is a seed top where all the seeds have been completely devoured.  It is an artistic composition as it looks so stark and bereft of seeds! But is also has a beautiful and pleasing shape not like the spiky seed head.

Check out my other post on an American Goldfinch feeder and American Goldfinches eating zinnias from my garden.