Earth Day recap

Between being sick and working on a casting for a National Aids Fund video project, I have hardly had time to post.

Earth Day at Lindsay’s school went really well. I left Edie home because she was acting very sick that day. (Fortunately having a day to herself without her sisters seemed to do the trick and she’s all better) There were all kinds of interesting people and kid’s projects there. The Brooklyn Botanic Gardens was there talking about vermicomposting, someone was talking about green roofs, there were earth boxes and the kids were able to make sculptures out of egg cartons and water bottles.

The hens were a big hit. I brought photos of my garden to “prove” to people that we have incorporated the chickens into our lifestyle rather than the other way around. I also brought a bag of ivy leaves that the kids could feed to the hens. That was a big hit. I love this photo because it looks as though Lulu is trying desperately to communicate to me that she wants to go home.

It was threatening to rain all day and at one point a dark cloud passed overhead and it started to sprinkle. And true to form (see my rant about new yorkers vs. nature here), someone claimed they saw lightning (there wasn’t any) and a general panic set in while all the kids were herded inside. Nothing like everyone running away from the first sign of a natural occurrence as a way to celebrate Earth Day. Sigh. But I think besides that utter silliness, it was a great event.

Get Free Coffee Grounds from Starbucks


Here’s some information on using coffee grounds in your compost from Starbucks. Besides getting spent grounds from Starbucks, I’m sure any of your local coffee shops would be happy to hand some over. You can divert great organic matter from going to a landfill and improve your garden at the same time.

Coffee grounds can provide a valuable source of nutrition for your garden. The proper amount to be used depends on the condition of your soil and what you are growing. Check with a local gardening expert or your local parks to see what is best for your garden. Here are a few general tips:Applying coffee grinds directly to your garden:
Coffee grounds can be applied directly as a top dressing to acid loving plants like blueberries, hydrangeas, and azaleas (acid loving plants thrive in areas where rainfall is common in the warm season). Adding brown material such as leaves and dried grass to the mulch will help keep a balanced soil pH.

Mixing coffee grounds in your compost:
Coffee grounds act as a green material with a carbon-nitrogen (C-N) ratio of 20-1. Combined with browns such as leaves and straw, coffee grounds generate heat and will speed up the compost process. Don’t make your coffee grounds more than 25% of any one pile’s content. To counter the acidity of the coffee grounds, consider adding 1 teaspoon of lime or wood ash for every 5 pounds of coffee grounds in your pile.

Using coffee grounds in your worm bin:
Worms fed with coffee grounds and other vegetarian materials will flourish.

What’s in Coffee Grounds?
Starbucks commissioned a study in 1995 to better understand the make up of the organic matter we call coffee grounds. The following is the result of the analysis performed by the University of Washington, College of Forest Resources:

Primary Nutrients


Phosphorus……ND ug/g

Potassium…….1204 ug/g

Secondary Nutrients

Calcium……….389 ug/g

Magnesium……448 ug/g

Sulfur…………high ug/g

ND = indicates sample is below detection limit

ug/g = microgram/gram

I just found out about a site called that is a kind of social networking site for people who have worm composters. There’s a Google map of the members and there are lots of photos of people holding their pet worms. If all this doesn’t get you to click on the site, there’s also a forum and a links section that gives a newbie vermicomposter all the information they need to get started.