Free Vermicomposting Workshop in Pasadena


Some of you might remember that we advertised a free biodynamic composting workshop here a few weeks ago– and some of you may have even attended! It was great to meet Root Simple readers there.

Well, that was a great day, where lots of good connections were formed, and another great thing came out of it. It turned out that one of the participants, Don, is an expert worm wrangler. There was a lot of interest in worm composting at the workshop, so Don offered to teach us what he knows, for free.

The workshop is on Saturday, December 21st from 10-12. Sadly, Erik and I cannot attend on that day (and I’m bummed, because Don has some really interesting techniques to share), but we wanted to help publicize it. Don is not only teaching the class for free, but he’s also selling worm-kit-stuff and is donating the proceeds to support those affected by the recent typhoon in the Philippines.

Don’s announcement:

Free vermi-composting workshop provided by Don Martinez:
Hands-on learning; you get one gal of pure worm castings for your work; starter worm racks ($35), starter materials ($10/gal), 2 handfuls of worms in bedding ($20) also available.
Please RSVP Don Martinez at [email protected] for location
Also let me if you want a starter kit so I can order materials. 100% of proceeds from all items purchased will go to the Beta Epsilon/University of the Philippines relief project for Filipinos affected by the recent typhoon.
Class agenda and more details after the break:
Come early if you want to preview the various worm failed contraptions that I’ve made and enjoy some coffee together.
  • 10am/Start. We’ll start at 10am sharp. We’ll introduce ourselves and share for about 15 mins about why you decided to come to the workshop, leanings from you individual experimenting, and problems and questions about vermicomposting.
  • 10:30am/Failures. Then I’ll walk everyone through the various worm contraptions that I’ve developed over the last two years and how each failed miserably (I’ve killed a lot of worms!)
  • 10:45am/My Current Method. Then we’ll break into groups and work step-by-step through my current method, which is currently producing 50 gals of casitings/mo.
  • 11:30 am/Smokey Mountain Project.  I’ll do my best to end the teaching/group learning process at 11:30 am. Feel free to leave at this time.
  • 11:30 – 12pm/Brunch/Smokey Mountain Project. If you have time, join us for a free brunch. We’ll have fresh cut greens grown from my worm castings and I’ll share about the Smokey Mountain Project. ***
Sweat Equity & Community Learning. The workshop is free, BUT I will be putting you to work so come ready with work clothes. For your work, you will get a gallon of worm castings to feed your veggies and fruit trees. We’ll gather again in three months to share the results.
Worm kits:
If you want a small starter kit and/or worms, let me know. I can give you a “mini-system” that mirrors what I do on a smaller scale ($35) +  5 gals of starter materials ($10) + 2 handfuls of worms in bedding ($20 you don’t need a lot of worms. The key is to provide the ideal environment and food to support their innate capacity to multiply exponentially). 100% of the proceeds from all items you purchase will be given to the Beta Epsilon/University of the Philippines relief project.*** PLEASE LET ME KNOW if you would like a starter kit so I can get the materials and make only what will be needed.
What to bring:
  • Garden gloves, if you prefer not to use your hands when working with manures and worms
  • A 5 gal plastic bucket to take home starter material
  • 1 small cardboard box or coffee can for the worms.
  • You’ll also need a 3×3 flat space in the trunk of your car to carry the worm trays. Make sure to cover the trunk of your car with newspaper as some of the castings and starter material tends to stain carpets.
***I’m Filipino and am working on a short-term relief project that I hope will grow slowly into a long term systemic response to to the recent typhoon devastation in the Philippines (and earthquake in Haiti, tsunami in Japan, etc.)   I’m calling the project, “The Smokey Mountain Worm Casting Project.” I’ll share  more about this during our brunch.

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  1. I am interested in your workshop. We had lots of worms but then soldier fly larvae moved in and the worms were gone!
    We need new worms, and to learn how to increase the amount created for the garden…

    • Remember, it’s not my class — it’s Don’s! Please rsvp to him and also let him know in advance that you want a starter kit, so he’ll have it ready for you. His email address is above, in the post.

    • I’m beginning to wonder if this is even going to happen. Two days after an RSVP and no response yet from Don.

  2. Remember, lots of folks are out of town or entertaining family this weekend, and Don is probably among them. I’m sure he will get back to you soon.

  3. NOTE: Don was out of town for Thanksgiving, but is back as of tonight (Sun 10/1) and has just replied to everyone who has emailed him while he was gone.

    If you rsvp’d already, but have not heard back from him as of tonight, he’d really appreciate it if you sent him a new email.


  4. I enjoy keeping up with the Root Simple blog. Does Don hold these workshops throughout the country? I am not in your area, but would love to absorb a little of his knowledge.

    • No– but who knows? Don is just a nice guy with a productive worm set up who–at the composting workshop we attended recently– volunteered to demonstrate his technique for whomever was interested. Whether or not he’ll one day have a multi-state vermicomposting empire…I don’t know! 😉 We can hope.

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