Alan Kirk

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since May 25, 2016
Reno, NV
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Recent posts by Alan Kirk

Just found this resource at the PRI Kenya website.  There are two others like it, plus other interesting info.


http://pri-kenya.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/Lost-Crops-of-Africa-Fruits.pdf

Let me know if this is the sort of thing you are looking for, and I will keep my eye out for more.
1 year ago
I tried to edit my previous post to include a link to a photo that more folks should be able to view but wasn't able to, so I will post the link here:

https://twitter.com/981thebull/status/680075923127963649
1 year ago
Let me know how you ultimately resolve this issue...us members of the Brotherhood of the Worm have to look out for one another  
1 year ago

Shaz Jameson wrote:Alan,

My worms love wet leaves and I am adding to my bins 60 gallons of leaves every other week, along with 30 gallons of kitchen scraps.  



I find that fascinating! Do you think it's also influenced by the fact that you're in Nevada, where (I think) there's a dry climate? I'm in the cold and wet Netherlands...

Thank you for your suggestions!



Shaz,  I imagine northern Nevada is drier than the Netherlands but right now there is a foot of snow on the ground and temps in the 20s (F) at night.

I am able to keep the worms active by having enough bin mass (about a 1.25 meter cubed) and by mixing greens in with the browns so the bin stays warm.

I guess you could say that I am creating an artificial habitat within the bin that meets the needs of the worms, but is different from the environment outside the bin.
1 year ago
My feedback is that you need to turn your problem from being too many leaves, into a problem of not having enough leaves.  My worms love wet leaves and I am adding to my bins 60 gallons of leaves every other week, along with 30 gallons of kitchen scraps.  

I see four possible solutions:  1)  restart the pile but smaller, more in line with your population size, 2)  keep the pile the way it is but be patient and they will eventually catch up but it may take many months, 3)  buy or gather more worms and add them to existing pile or, 4)  you can dry then screen your entire pile to capture the castings that have been created so far (ooh, that's a lot of work).

I hope this is helpful    
1 year ago
Found this idea using Siberian Pea Shrub.  In the comments, at the bottom, the author provides a link to show how his idea worked out.

http://www.nordicminifarm.com/2014/04/laying-siberian-peashrub-hedge/
1 year ago
I believe you should be able to start right up again as long as there is enough food and moisture and the right temperature in your bin.  If what is in the bin looks like mostly finished castings then it would be best to start with a fresh batch of manure and moss.  I believe the best tea is made from fresh castings.
2 years ago
My goal was to reduce the volume of waste we send to the landfill, to reduce nutrient loss from our property, and to create my own soil amendment for gardening.

The challenges in my area are keeping the bins moist enough (year round) and warm enough (in the winter= zone 5).  I have two bins that are each about a cubic yard in size.  I made them big so there would likely always be a warm, wet spot in the middle for them to migrate to if needed. The bins are made out of cedar fence wood with small (quarter-inch) gaps for air.  If I had to it all over again, I would have made the gaps smaller, as I am still losing too much moisture.  

In the winter, I have 3 feet of dry leaves above the worms, inside the bin, to provide insulation.  I harvest the compost twice a year to minimize the disturbance to the worms, once in the spring and once in the fall.  I feed them about 25 gallons of food scraps per week, plus all the trimmings and leaves from the yard.  I would estimate about one-fifth of the food scraps are citrus.

I ferment the food waste for one week before putting in, and this seems to help a lot with the smell.  I also cover each deposit with a thick layer of shredded leaves to cut back on fruit flies. Having a solid floor is a good idea, as roots from neighboring plants aggressively invade the bins.

I use a DIY, mechanical, rotary, two-stage screener to sift the castings to retain the worms and eggs.  I spend about a half-hour a week adding material, and about 30 hours a year harvesting and sifting.  I end up with about 3 cubic yards of finished product per year.  Never quite sure how big my herd is, but I do know they are hard-workers.
2 years ago
I signed it.  Besides the Farm Bill I think another good source of money could be Homeland Security.  I recall hearing that a main theme of Homeland Security is to teach, train and encourage our citizenry to be resilient.  What is more resilient than Permaculture?