Recycle at home with vermicomposting

Have you heard of vermicomposting? It’s the use of worms to turn kitchen trash into organic fertilizer, and it can be done on a small scale in apartments. I can’t wait to try it!

I learned how to set up my own worm recycle bin at Red Worm Composting. Basically you just need one or two rubbermaid container bins to get started. You put your old fruit or vegetable scraps in the bin, and you cover it with strips of cardboard or newspaper moistened with water. Then you add the worms, and that’s really all there is to it.

The worms help to break down the food and paper and turn it into a fertilizer that you can add to your garden or potted plants. So not only does it reduce your trash, but it creates a valuable organic product. It sounds brilliant. I can’t believe I had never heard about this!

I estimated that about 1/3 of my trash is stuff that I could give to the worms. All those banana peels, tea bags, apple cores, coffee grounds, cardboard egg cartons and boxes, and grocery ads from the mail could be used.

I talked to Doug about this weeks ago, but he was a bit apprehensive. His main concern was that the bin would have an unpleasant smell. I read that if the bin has air holes and plenty of cardboard or newspaper, that shouldn’t be the case. His other question was — “Why? We don’t have much extra space.”

Then a few days ago we were driving down a residential street and Doug paid attention to the bags and bags of leaves and grass clippings that were piled up on the curb waiting for the trash truck to haul them away. He began to rant about how those bags were going to be tossed into the landfill instead of letting the organic material replenish the soil, and how the land would have to be supplemented with petroleum-derived fertilizer. That must have changed his mind, because later that day he told me we could try a worm bin.

I just need to find some worms. I’m trying to find them locally, but it’s a little hard to do that in the city. I’ll keep trying.

The Garden Gnome


After it snowed a couple of days ago, today is warm and bright, and the trees are blossoming. Gnome is pleased, as usual.

Non-toxic household cleaners

I was reading a post at Apartment Therapy about avoiding chemicals in household cleaners, and I noticed a comment that I thought summed it up perfectly.

Back in the old days, folks used vinegar, lemons, baking soda, borax, soap and hot water to clean their homes until chemical companies convinced everyone that we had to have strange pink, blue and green liquids in plastic bottles…

…and it turns out that all we really ever needed was vinegar, lemons, baking soda, borax, soap and hot water.

I haven’t totally switched to all-natural products yet, but I am completely on board with using baking soda and vinegar.

spraybottle.jpgMy favorite simple spray cleaner is homemade, and it doesn’t leave me gasping for breath when I use it. I mix these 3 ingredients in a spray bottle:

  • 2 cups of water
  • 1/4 cup of white vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon of liquid soap

It works great on glass and countertops, especially with microfiber towels.

I like using baking soda to scrub my stove, sink and bathtub. It makes a really good carpet freshener too. Once or twice a year I sprinkle it over the carpet and use a broom to sweep it in. I let it sit overnight and then vacuum it up the next morning.

I also find the Shaklee products appealing, but even with all the recommendations I still haven’t tried any yet.

Really, when did “clean” start to be equated with toxic fumes and skin rashes?  
Cleaning does not have to be so painful. I want better.