Monday, December 3, 2012

Keeping Worms in the Tropics- Sophie, 12 years old

Why should I keep worms? We started our worm keeping after a visit to Echo Farms in Ft Myers, FL. We took workshops about worm keeping and learned enough to know to get started. Earth worms recycle food waste into good vermicompost and save energy and money. They produce good garden manure which provides house plants and garden with nutrients and good bacteria. Soils in the tropics tend to be sandy and low in nutrients, so worms will help you with this. Worms are good bait for freshwater fishing, so you can also save some money. This blog is a step by step guide for the worm keeper.
Worm Housing

Step 1. What things do you need to make a worm bin? You need at least two containers such as 5 gallon buckets or plastic totes which are at least 12 inches deep. You also need one lid. They must be opaque to keep out the sun. You will also need a drill with 1/8 inch and 1/4 inch drill bits. All these can be purchased at a hardware store. 

Step 2. Drill holes in the sides of one bucket with the 1/8 inch drill bit and drill holes on the bottom with the 1/4 inch drill bit. Drill all holes about an inch apart. These holes help let fresh air in and the old air out. This is important so that the worm compost does not turn anaerobic. The holes on the bottom allow moisture or leachate to drain out. The leachate can be used as liquid fertilizer. Now stack the buckets and put the bucket with the holes onto of the bucket with no holes. Make sure not to drill holes in the lid to keep the worms from drying out.

Moving In
Step 3. Now that the house is built it is worm time. Make sure you buy red wiggles since other worms like night crawlers will burrow deep. When you are buying the worms, make sure to buy your worms from a local supplier because worms from Maine might not acclimate well to the tropics. You might have friends with an established worm bin who will share with you. We got some from our friends Greg and Evelyn from The Open Studio.
Step 4. Now your worms need bedding! Bedding can be made from coconut husk, shredded newspaper or other paper with soy based ink, and corrugated cardboard. Do not use shiny magazine paper! Make sure paper is shredded in strips. Bedding should be as wet as a wrung sponge but not soggy. Fill container with at least a few inches of this bedding. Also add a couple of sand or dirt for the worms.
Step 5. What to feed the worms? Here are some worm feeding basics with some do’s and don’ts. Worms love most kitchen and plant waste from cantaloupes to pumpkins to organic yard waste. They also love coffee grounds and tea bags but leave out the staples. Now here are some of the no no’s. Worms don’t like too much citrus because they are too acidic. If you give the worms too much citrus give them crushed egg shells to balance the pH back. Avoid meat, dairy, hot peppers, spicy food, onions and garlic. A pound of worms can eat a half a pound of kitchen waste per 24 hours.
General care
Keep your bin in your porch, garage or lanai so you have an overhang. This keeps out direct sunlight and rain. Make sure to keep worm food and compost moist but not soaking. When food is put in the worm bin, make sure to cover it with bedding. Add new bedding when worms have eaten in all. This is an important food for them since worms need lots of carbon. Also keep an eye on your leachate because worms do not like to be soaked. Keep out all fire ants, centipedes and maggots! Please give me feedback on how your worm bins are doing. Vermiculture is a very good thing to help the environment.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

World's first recycled plastic asphalt paving trialled in Vancouver- Springwise

picture from

We’ve already seen recyclable plastics enjoy new lives as stools, clothes and oil. Now the City of Vancouver has created a plastic-based asphalt which it is trialling for paved roads in the Canadian metropolis.

You may find the rest of the article on the Springwise website here.

AMAZON GOLD- Ecomb Cinema Green on November 29


November 29 | 7 pm | 53 min
Miami Design Preservation League Auditorium
1001 Ocean Drive | Miami Beach | (305) 672-2014

Suggested donation of $10 and $7 for ECOMB Members and Students with ID.
Members must provide their ECOMB Green Card.

Narrated by Academy Award winners Sissy Spacek and Herbie  Hancock, Amazon Gold is the disturbing account of a clandestine journey into the Amazon rainforest. Ron Haviv and Donovan Webster, two war journalists led by a Peruvian biologist uncover the savage unraveling of pristine rainforest. They bear witness to the apocalyptic destruction in the pursuit of illegally mined gold with consequences on a global scale. An animated Agouti springs to life to tell the story of his ecosystem. Left in the wake of surreal images of once extraordinary beauty turned into hellish wasteland, Amazon Gold reaffirms the right to exits as a repository of priceless biodiversity.

Directed By: Reuben Aaronson | Produced By: Sarah Dupont & James Cavello
53 Mins.

You may find the movie press kit here.
You may see the trailer below:

Homemade Christmas Cards- Better Homes and Gardens

Homemade cards are not only appreciated but they are also environmentally-conscious as you can make them from materials you already have around the house or materials you want to recycle.
It is also a great crafting project to do with your kids over Thanksgiving.
Please see some examples from Better Homes and Gardens here that I hope will inspire you.

picture from Better Homes and Gardens

Monday, November 19, 2012

Miami Underwater Festival- Miami Science Museum

sent by Laura Bracken

You may find more info here.

RSMAS Community Garden- New kids on the block

This morning, I brought some vine (that will give yellow flowers) and planted some milkweed from my backyard  in the new butterfly garden. Little did I know that two Monarch caterpillars had hitched a ride and are now officially the two first tenants of the garden.
If everything goes well, they will become much bigger and turn like this:

Pumpkin Decorations Made from Recycled Books- Crafting Mom

picture from
This is the perfect craft for books that you do not plan on passing to anyone and that are falling apart. Instead of being recycled, they can be upcycled.

See the tutorial on here.

Doorknob Artistic murals- Trendhunter

picture from
David Goldberg might not be an artist, he is a hardware store owner after all, but he sure has an artistic streak. After collecting various discontinued doorknobs and other door accessories, he has finally put them to good use. David Goldberg has created a large-scale mural outside of his shop Union Hardware in Bethesda, Maryland.

See the rest of Meghan Young's article on the Trenhunter website here.

How to get rid of the weeds in your yard: eat them!

There are some weeds in my yard that keep coming back relentlessly. I used to pull them out and a few days later, they would be back, as if they were defying me. Until recently, when one day, I looked at them more carefully and realized that they were very similar to dandelions. I wondered if they were edible. I tried them and they were surpisingly good with just a tad of bitterness. So now I'm not worried about their abundance anymore because I eat them in salads.

Disclaimer: you should only eat weeds that grow in your yard if you do not spray chemicals.Also please make sure to wash them thoroughly. Last, only eat what you can identify as being edible.Do not take any chances, as some plants might be poisonous.

Dollar weeds

Find some edible plants of Florida on the Wild Floridian website here.
Find a dip recipe for dollar weeds on the Cutting Edge website here.

Friday, November 16, 2012

RSMAS Community Garden- Growing and growing

First little tomatoes

First flowers on the peppers

Arugula seedlings growing


Vine trying to attach to the fence

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Milk and Juice cartons wallets- Milkmuny

picture from


More than 510,000 tons of milk and juice cartons are generated every year in the United States, but sadly, less than .05% ever get recycled according to an EPA report of (MSW) Municipal Solid Waste). That’s what got us thinking and how was created. Milkmuny is reaching out to schools and non-profits, desperately in need of funding, paying them for the collected ‘empties’, then making clever origami-esque wallets and other products and selling them on this site and at specialty retailers. We are on mission, join us! Read the blog, learn more, and please recycle.

You may find more info here.

However if you would rather make a similar recycled juice carton wallet yourself, please see below:

picture from

You may find the instructions on here.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

RSMAS Community Garden- Four weeks after planting

A month has passed since the first planting and the garden has already changed a lot. Kieran Bhatia added some soil on Thursday, November 8 (with the help of Teddy Allen, Honghai Zhang, Christy Borsky  and Joni Lum) and  on Monday, planted some carrots, lettuce and spinach (with the help of  Sharein El-Tourky and Brittanica). He had previously planted some arugulas and they just started to come out. On Monday Jefferson and Max also planted some milkweed and I attached a passion flower vine on the fence.Both plants were donated by Lynne Fieber and are the start of a butterfly garden.

Arugula seedlings





Tomatoes flowers

Starting the Butterfly garden


Passion Vine

Friday, November 9, 2012

World's first low-water, low-energy vertical farm opens in Singapore- Springwise

With an ever-growing global population and ever-diminishing natural resources, solutions for low-carbon compact farming could prove vital in the future. Japanese company Daiwa House Industry has already offered its Agri-Cube hydroponic unit, and now the Sky Greens vertical farm in Singapore is the world’s first low-water, low-energy urban food production space.

Please see the rest of the article on Springwise  here.

The Sky Greens website is here.