Growing Greener with Green & Grow
The average American produces 4.5 pounds of waste per day and at least 60% of the waste they produce is organic and compostable (EPA:2010). Recently, our Green & Grow Apprentices, with the help of the Horticulture staff, discovered just how important and easy it is to compost. Asha, a Green & Grow participant, describes her thoughts on the matter: “It’s important for the Greenway to compost because it saves energy and it’s sustainable–you aren’t wasting anything, you are reusing it.”
Green & Grow participants were eager to learn an eco-friendly alternative to discarding our organic waste in landfills. Following a lesson about landfill composition, Green & Grow apprentices took part in a hands-on workshop, where they brewed their own compost tea with the help of Greenway Horticulture staff. For those of you interested in making your own compost tea here’s how the brewing process works:
Step 1: Feed the Red Wigglers (Eisenia foetid). Green & Grow is shown here feeding the worms some food scraps from the Dewy Square Farmers Market. After feeding, turn the compost to encourage mixing. Add a little bit of water to keep everything nice and damp.
Step 2: Harvest a few shovelfuls of worm castings from the bin. To the worm castings, add: compost, oats, molasses, and a little bit of water. These components help to encourage the growth of organisms found in healthy soil; such as, bacteria, protozoa, and fungi. Set mixture aside for a few days.
Step 3:Brew Tea! Place compost mixture into cheesecloth and attach to tea brewing bin. Add: more molasses, liquefied seaweed, and humates (rich organic matter). The compost tea brews for 48 hours and then it’s ready!
The Greenway utilizes vermiculture (worm composting) to add richness and vitality to the soil used to blanket our lawns, trees, and garden beds. Our Horticulture staff yeilds 100 gallons, 50 gallons of compost tea combined with 50 gallons of water, every week. Upon completion, the compost tea is then transported to the Greenway Parks using a special Gator – with a hose and sprayer attachment- to be distributed along the Greenway.