Monday, March 15, 2010

Earthcare Spring Training

Feb 24 – 25
At Earthcare's Spring Training 2010, Earthcare groups from Ottawa's elementary and high schools gathered for environmental learning and fun. With Growing Up Organic, students learned the ins and outs of composting - and made their own...

Pop Bottle Composter!

All you need: recycled containers (2L pop bottle, large yogurt and medium sour cream), a small piece of nylon, a rubber band, half a cup of soil, some newspaper.

Step #1 Carefully cut the bottom off your pop bottle (about two inches, usually there is a line on the bottle)

Step #2 Attach nylon to the spout of the bottle with rubber band to create a screen

Step #3 Place the bottle spout down in the large yogurt container. Add shredded newspaper until your bottle is about half full (get ripping!).

Step #4 Add 1/2 cup of soil to the bottle

Step #5 Put the small container in the top of the bottle as a lid (right side up).

And voila! Your composter is ready!

To use your composter:
Add 1-2 cups organic material (fruit/vegetable scraps, crushed egg shells-washed, coffee grounds) ***The smaller the better! Chop up into small pieces, or put your scraps in a blender!

Add a few spoons of water, and stir up the paper, soil and organic matter. You want the consistency to be that of a damp sponge, so add water as needed.

Now wait while tiny bacteria and microorganisms turn your scraps into compost!

Check on your composter once or twice a week. Stir it up to allow air in, and empty the liquid that has drained into the bottom container. This is 'compost tea', and your plants will love it!

Does your compost stink? It shouldn't! It may be too dry - add a little water, or too wet - add dry material like sawdust or shredded paper.
Tip: If you are having trouble, try only composting coffee grounds, it won't stink!

After about 1 month the contents of your pop bottle should begin to look like a smooth, dry soil. Your compost is ready to be used - your houseplants will love it!
***Don't forget to save half a cup of compost to restart your composter for the next month!

Keep composting! You are reducing the amount of waste in landfills, and creating organic plant food (for free!) that will help your houseplants or your garden grow strong and healthy!

More information on composting...

Also, check out Vermiculture - composting with worms!...

Red Wiggler worms are the best! Add them to your outdoor bin, or make a worm bin.
Order your own Red Wigglers from Arbour Environmental Shoppe in the Glebe.
(613) 567-3168

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