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Poll: Current Thoughts on the Environment

Please vote in the poll, located in the right sidebar
Please vote in the poll, located in the right sidebar

St. Louis is celebrating Earth Day in Forest Park today:

25 Years of Earth Day in 2014

Join us in Forest Park on Sunday, April 27 for the St. Louis Earth Day Festival from 11am to 6pm, rain or shine.

Don’t miss the Recycling Extravaganza at STLCC on the same day as the Festival (10am-4pm).

I was wondering how readers felt about the environment, and efforts such as Earth Day. The poll this week has six answers representing a wide range plus an unsure answer. The poll is in the right sidebar.

— Steve Patterson

 

Rain Gardens Are Great, Except When Blocked By Excessive Mulch

Rain gardens are an environmentally-friendly way to handle water runoff, rain water runs into an area where it gets absorbed into the soil. Well, assuming the water doesn’t get blocked.

Visual evidence of standing water at opening to this rain garden on Tucker
Visual evidence of standing water at opening to this rain garden on Tucker

The newly rebuilt North Tucker Boulevard has numerous rain gardens, but unfortunately many are like the one shown above — not able to function as designed because too much mulch blocks the water.

— Steve Patterson

 

Lunch Al Fresco

April 12, 2014 Downtown, Environment, Featured Comments Off on Lunch Al Fresco

According to the calendar it has been Spring for three weeks now, but it sure hasn’t felt like it. Finally, on Wednesday we began to warm up. That day I met friends for lunch…al fresco.  They’re from Springfield IL, they came in the day before for the Cardinals game, we met at Pi downtown, as it was near their hotel and they have a nice outdoor patio.

Pi MX at 11:30am on Wednesday, by noon every table was occupied.
Pi MX at 11:30am on Wednesday, by noon every table was occupied.

After lunch I had grocery shopping to do but they had two hours to sight see until they needed to be back at the Amtrak station. They hadn’t seen Citygarden yet, so I showed them. Culinaria was next, I stayed to shop while they continued on.  I’d suggested places a few places for them to see:

  • Big Shark bike shop & adjacent bike station
  • Central Library
  • Soliders Memorial

I’m just very glad we’re above freezing. Now if we can get rain at night, but dry clear days.

— Steve Patterson

 

Glad Spring is Here!

March 20, 2014 Environment, Featured Comments Off on Glad Spring is Here!

I usually don’t mind winter too much, but I’m very glad Spring is officially here!

Chives coming up on our balcony.
Chives coming up on our balcony.

I’m planning what to plant on our balcony and looking forward to sleeping with the windows open. What is your favorite part about Spring?

— Steve Patterson

 

One Year of Vermicomposting

March 13, 2014 Environment, Featured 3 Comments

When I had a yard I’d compost yard waste and occasionally, kitchen scraps. When I moved into a downtown loft with a 5×10 balcony 6+ years ago I thought my composting days were over. I knew of using worms to compost, but I’d never tried it.

One year ago today we started our worm bin — vermicomposting — indoors.

Vermicompost is the product or process of composting using various worms, usually red wigglers, white worms, and other earthworms to create a heterogeneous mixture of decomposing vegetable or food waste, bedding materials, and vermicast. Vermicast, also called worm castings, worm humus or worm manure, is the end-product of the breakdown of organic matter by an earthworm. These castings have been shown to contain reduced levels of contaminants and a higher saturation of nutrients than do organic materials before vermicomposting.

Containing water-soluble nutrients, vermicompost is an excellent, nutrient-rich organic fertilizer and soil conditioner. This process of producing vermicompost is called vermicomposting. (Wikipedia)

I was very excited to be starting the bin:

One year ago we had our worm bin lined with coconut choir and the bag of 500 red wigglers ready to add.
One year ago we had our worm bin lined with coconut choir and the bag of 500 red wigglers ready to add.
The worms we purchased came in the compost/castings they were used to.
The worms we purchased came in the compost/castings they were used to.

In the last year I made many mistakes; the bin got too wet, too dry, etc. I added a second bin and have finally found a balance.

Nearly every kitchen scrap gets composted. I was trying to add citrus peels but doing so threw off the PH level, even in small amounts. I’ve found other uses for lemon & orange peels, like scenting vinegar to use for cleaning.

Our original bin (left) and 2nd bin (right)
Our original bin (left) and 2nd bin (right)

Does this take time? Yes, but it also feels good to not put waste down the disposal or into a landfill. The castings are great for our potted plants — both indoors and those on our balcony.

— Steve Patterson

 

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