Category Archives: Composting

Fanatically Clearing Out the Old in Order to Make Way for the New!

This weekend has been a plethora of activity. Rather that the typical building progress with my greenhouse build, this deals with demolition (in a sense). The yard has had a number of old dead bushes lining the back wall for more  than a year. I finally made the time to get cracking on that particular item for getting the backyard back into shape.

The first item was to get the branches knocked down or cut off and following that getting the root balls removed. All in all there are 13 of these pesky bushes that I’m contending with. Thankfully I was able to get the branches taken care of and will follow up on digging out the root balls next week. I also took it upon myself to prune the tree a bit as it was getting on my nerves.

Needless to say this section of the yard now looks 1000% better than before. Cleaned up, raked, it really opened up the area. The plan of course is to get this area ready for future updates. We have a number of ideas in mind… rain water harvesting, solar water heater, compost pile, black soldier fly incubator, and possibly an anaerobic digester. The other plans include the typical backyard upgrades. We’ve got ideas for a deck, an outdoor fireplace, dedicated BBQ area, jucuzzi, arbor, assorted potted plants, some xeriscaping ideas, etc. etc.

Updates will be posted per project as we’re able to work on knocking out each in succession. We’re planning on speaking with a landscape designer next weekend and will have to determine how best to proceed with updating the existing irrigation system, but it should make for a urban farm/yard when completed.

No, we are not made of money.. most of these items will be taken on piecemeal when funds permit and as much of the cost will be offset by doing the labor ourselves. But its exciting to know that following next weekend, we can get cracking on our ideas!

I’ll keep you updated! 🙂

Fanatic Idea! – The Downtown Urban Farming Initiative

The Downtown Urban Farming Initiative (or DUFi for short) is a project I came upon through a discussion I had with my mother-in-law whose company is helping to assist in making it a reality.

In essence, it brings in local agriculture to otherwise derelict plots of land and makes the area viable once more by providing the ability to grow healthy food choices, promote good health and spur economic growth through entrepreneurship and tourism.

The Dufi Team

The Dufi Team

What makes this initiative so unique is that unlike ones that have been implemented in large cities such as New York and Detroit with success… smaller towns, with fewer resources are often unable to start – let alone sustain – these programs due to lack of direction, limited financial resources and a shortage of dedicated human capital. Their approach is a distributed urban farm program aiming to resolve the weaknesses of other programs by engaging small businesses as key partners in the downtown farm.

The Volunteers

The Volunteers

Right now, their latest project is being modeled and implemented in Historic Downtown Bryan, Texas. Downtown Bryan is passionate about supporting and advancing commerce, culture, and community. They actively work towards these goals through economic development, support of local art and culture, and community engagement. This environment creates the perfect conditions for the incubation of the Distributive Urban Farming Initiative and the creation of living classrooms that will serve both the local community as well as others seeking to replicate the model.

Artists Rendering

Artists Rendering

Providing local produce to local restaurants is just one aspect of their approach to spurring economic activity around the gardens. The gardens enhance lots that are otherwise unused and create attractive spaces for special events, providing another source of revenue to support farm operations.

The project however does need to get the ball rolling and needs pledge support to make it happen. The expansion will only be funded if at least $15,000 is pledged by Dec. 9.

I’m asking for all in the blog space willing to make a great gesture, to give a little support this holiday season to make this idea a reality 🙂


Worms? Black Soldier Flies? >Ewww!!!< Wait! – Learn to Love Them!

Anything related to bugs and worms is not going to get much press.. so I’m going to do my fair bit to explain why they are a necessity if you ever wish to have a decent garden.

Worm Composting BinSure there are microbes, fungus and molds that can help to bring about the composting process.. but on a sheer scale of HOW MUCH composting can be done, you really can’t beat the Black Soldier Fly and Worms for their efficiency. Typically you can expect a mature worm/soldier fly composting setup to have a 1 to 1 ratio effectiveness… i.e. 1 pound of worms/flies can process 1 pound a day of organic material into compost. THAT my friends is a lot of compost work!

There are added benefits to using such setups as well. The natural microbes that are found in worm castings you WILL NOT find in processed fertilizers due to the heating/cooling treatments they use in their manufacturing. These microbes are beneficial to plants in that they continue the breakdown of rotting organic matter even after you’ve applied them to your garden, they are not harmed in the digestion of the worms. If anything they are given a layer of protection thanks to the mucus produced by the worms in their castings. Other studies suggest that these microbes also help in fending off disease that would otherwise naturally attack the plants. Sort of like adding white blood cells to your garden mix. Worms are also beneficial in aquaponic gardens by adding another level of processing to the nitrite/nitrate production of your system. They will readily eat the fish waste and produce beneficial worm castings that will help your plants thrive!

Black Soldier Fly’s have an additional benefit as well. Besides just being composting machines, they also produce larvae via reproduction. These larvae can be harvested as a high protein source food for fish, chickens or any other animal that could use additional proteins in their diets. BSF’s are also naturally occurring in most regions. You can get them established using some good old elbow grease and building your own BSF composting/harvester or ordering one online. One place I’ve found that provides a great deal of info is the Black Soldier Fly Blog. Tons of great info on how to setup/build your own or purchase a ready made setup.

Here’s a great example of the effective composting capabilities of Black Soldier Fly’s..

I bring these ideas to your attention simply because some people might understand the idea of composting, but not realize that there are ways to BOOST the composting process by adding in some of nature’s super-troopers into the mix!