Local, organic agriculture. Environmental education.

Winter Wrigglers

red worm compost class 2 From the “How a farmer keeps busy in winter” file comes some tales of red wriggler worms working to take care of the environment and the interests and predictions of local 2nd graders. Recently, all the 2nd graders at the Foster School in Hingham talked snacks and veggie scraps. As Farm Educators and wanna be farmers and growers, we at Holly Hill know one of our biggest concerns and focused efforts involves compost. This rich, healthy component of soil that does so much to enhance the growing of organic plants and is a needed part of successful growing. And in an effort to find means of sustainability, the students at Foster took a large step to help make their own compost.

With the assistance of red wrigglers, who were donated on loan from our large bin of compost, each class put about 20 small red wriggler worms in a clear plastic bin with plenty of air holes.  Together the class discussed what the worms would need to survive in their new home.  The class had collected some lettuce from a never-eaten salad, an orange rind, a slice of cantaloupe, an avocado seed pit, a banana peel and a part of a rotting apple. I once saw a sticker proclaiming that “A rind is a terrible thing to waste.” I agree as the students also talked about how food scraps for worms keeps food scraps out of the trash bin. Food scraps out of the trash bin also make for less trash for the kind folks whose job it is to collect and carry out the garbage. The students are also part of a school-wide effort to compost items and ingredients at lunch, including many of their now-paper plates and trays from cafeteria line. What a great effort to increase the amount of all things recycled! Not just paper and plastic bottles apply. In fact, the students at Foster have named their outdoor compost bins, I suppose to better associate with the bins that will help sustain their gardens that will grow their food and future snacks.

In Hingham, Foster is not alone in this effort of conservation and compost. Bins with red wriggers will start at South later this week (children may have to store those food scraps through the storm). East School 2nd graders are due to assess the bins they started in November. At PRS, one classroom is underway with their bin and predictions (“the worms will eat everything!”), while another PRS teacher has her multi-tiered bin in operation and production throughout the school year. As for the Foster bins, there is also the need to add some torn newspaper for ruffage and some dirt and grit for the soft toothed worms. Add a little water, as all living creatures need water, and the bins are capped and ready for the process to begin. The vermicompost will actually be the fruit of the worms’ labor. The new habitat for the worms will also not feature any worm phones, televisions or radios.  They will remain  blissfully unaware of deflated stories and inflated conversations. Instead they will make a super product, enough to fill a small bowl, and all the better to help grow new, healthy vegetables come spring, which is due to follow this busy, windy, now snowy winter.

© 2015, Jon Belber. All rights reserved. Friends of Holly Hill Farm

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