The rainy season has begun in Costa Rica, and we have grandkids to hug, so we are back in Michigan.
I didn't make as much progress in Bello Oriente as I had hoped. The long grass that we cut and piled in the compost bins was too coarse and long. It took too long to decompose to make a good worm food, but it made a nice mulch. I need to figure out how to shred the material. Machetes don't prepare the grass the way my home lawnmower does. The kitchen waste was not a problem, and we generally get enough rain to keep the stacks moist, along with dumping any wash water on the piles. You might question the soapy water, but someday I hope to filter all of our used water through the compost.
The next book will probably be titled "Further Beyond VermiCompost". It will feature slightly larger systems. Since writing "Beyond Compost" I have been introduced to a number of systems that convert larger amounts of organic waste and they have adapted to their needs. I think you may find these adaptations helpful. The basics remain the same.
I'm hoping to help Meadowbrook Elementary School in Forest Hills, Michigan, initiate and develop their school gardening project and composting system. In an environment like this it is important to begin with something like a closed rotary compost tumbler, since not everybody understands the difference between compost and garbage. Assuming that the elementary program produces an acceptable amount of worm food, a high school could continue the process with a VermiChester vermicompost program. Already we have seen two results. First, the 2nd and 3rd Grade students are eating more fruits and vegetables because of increased interest in organic waste. Second, the administration is saving a huge amount of money due to a closer scrutiny of their waste disposal methods. They were paying for disposal of containers that were not compact or filled. There is still room for further improvement as they begin to shred more of their paper waste.
If you have stories to tell and share, please comment. If your story is long, we can connect by e-mail, etc.