Broom Corn–or is it Broomcorn?

...mer I suggested we plant broom corn for no other good reason than I saw the seed pack at the nursery and thought it would be fun to make a broom. (This sort of temporary insanity often overtakes me in the seed aisle.) So without knowing anything at all about broom corn or broom making we planted a block of the stuff. Maybe I should have done a little research into broom making before planting, but I let it slide ’til harvest time. It’...

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Matching Your Waste Stream to Your Composting Method

Image source: Philip Cohen, Wikipedia. This past weekend I taught a composting class at a local Waldorf school to a group of adults. When I asked the students to describe their living situations, I realized I needed to take a detour from the main activity of the day, building a large biodynamic compost pile, into a discussion of worm composting. Why? A few of the attendees lived in apartments or had very small yards. The type...

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Composting the Deceased/ My DIY Funeral Fantasies

...not be saluted by the dashing officers of the quarterdeck, but my shrouded body can be pitched overboard at sea. It’s a thing! It’s called a “full-body maritime burial”.  In the U.S. you just need to be in Federal Waters, at least 3 miles off shore and in water at least 600 ft. deep. It turns out there’s a joint that works out of Long Beach Harbor which does this for you. Erik, are you taking notes? Fantasy 3: Comp...

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Back on the Yogurt Train: How to Make Yogurt

...to make yogurt. In fact, I do believe we covered it in our book. Thing is, back in the day when we made yogurt, it was Erik’s job. When he slacked on it, I didn’t even consider picking it up. Chalk it up to the mysteries of division of labor in a household. Anyway, we went to see Mark Frauenfelder talk about his great new book, Made by Hand , and one of things he mentioned was how much he and his family are digging making their own...

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Cat Litter Composting

...that link for more info on Jenkins’ good work in that area–research, technique, message boards, etc. It’s all there. Human, cat and dog waste are all more tricky to work with than your more benign chicken and bunny waste. This isn’t something one should do in a half-assed way, but it is possible. The plan I’m going to follow is the basic humanure model, which is classic composting, but with lots of attention and care...

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Cat Litter Compost, Installment #3

...have more to say about pine litter further down, though.) 4) You have to add extra nitrogen to your pile to make it work. Even though it’s plenty stinky, the nitrogen present in cat waste can’t balance the heavy carbon loads of the litter by itself. (Note: You should be an experienced composter before you try composting cat litter, as I’ve warned before, and so you will of course know what I mean by all this talk of carbon and n...

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Biodynamic Composting Workshop

I’m teaching a hands-on biodynamic composting workshop at a local Waldorf school this weekend and looking forward to seeing some of you. We’ll go over the science of compost and the intention focusing thoughtstylings of Rudolf Steiner. What: Biodynamic Composting Workshop When: 8/9/2014, 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM Where: Highland Hall Garden in Northridge, California Learn how to create your own compost! Compost builds s...

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Tips on Composting from Will Bakx of Sonoma Compost

Sonoma Compost’s composting operation. On Thursday at the National Heirloom Exposition, Will Bakx, soil scientist and operations manager of Sonoma Compost, gave a rapid fire lecture on the nitty gritty details of composting. Here’s some of his useful tips: Temperature and Turning Compost should stay above 131ºF for 15 days to kill pathogens. Bakx recommended getting a thermometer to check the temperature every day during the...

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DIY Funerals Part 2: Swine Composting

...s lots of stuff I don’t know. Like the difference between hay and straw. Anyway, this is exciting, because it brings me closer to being composted. (In my funereal fantasy world, at any rate) One of the commenters, Raleigh Rancher, kindly sent along a link to Composting Swine Mortalities in Iowa, a publication of the Iowa State University Extension Program. Thank you, Raleigh!  What a trove of information! It has how-to’s, and a FAQ. I...

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Free Biodynamic Composting Seminar in Los Angeles with Jack McAndrew

Our friends at the Micheltorena School Garden are hosting a workshop with composting wizard Jack McAndrew. In case you missed Jack’s last workshop back in November, you’ve got another chance. Here’s the 411: Free Biodynamic Composting Seminar in Los Angeles with Jack McAndrew Date: Saturday, January 18th, rain or shine Time: 10am Duration: 2 to 3 hours but stay as short or as long as you’d like Where:...

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