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Central City Co-op

Last week, I made a list of all the farmer’s markets that were around and I’ve been visiting them a bit. Much of the focus is on local food, but I also discovered Central City Co-op that focuses on organic produce with an emphasis on local when it is available. It’s open on Wednesdays, so I drove over there today to see what it is all about.

The Co-op works two ways–you can either buy a share, in which you get a variety of veggies or fruit, or you can shop the open market. They have shares of different sizes and one that focuses solely on local foods. To shop at the co-op, you can either join as a member or pay for a day-pass. The first trip is free, so I didn’t have to pay anything today and spent about $10 filling out the rest of the veggies we should need this week.

If you volunteer, you can also earn credits toward a yearly membership and for spending at the co-op. I’m thinking I might look into that.

I also have been keeping my eyes on the local pick-your-own farms to see when the blueberry and blackberry seasons are opening up! Can’t wait!

Worm Project

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I know that I said I would write about bedding for the worm box yesterday, but I didn’t! Sorry. After you have the box, you have to have bedding for the worms. You can’t just throw them in there with a few peels and start off that way. The site I used to build my bin says that I need to fill up the bin 3/4 of the way with bedding.

Bedding can be newspapers without colored ink, office paper, cardboard, leaves, or other things like that. So not only do the worms eat your kitchen scraps, they can help with paper garbage, too. I’ve also read that you need to put a little sand in it to help the worms’ digestion. The bedding has to be damp enough for the worms to be able to breathe and be happy, so you need to wet the bedding and wring it out.

Sounds like a lot of work. I started filling the box with dry bedding yesterday, but I don’t have nearly enough paper and cardboard to put in it. Once I have the box full of bedding materials, then I’m going to wet it all down and squeeze out the excess water. I promise I won’t do this in my dining room.

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Mama asked in her previous comment what kind of worms are going to go in the bin. The most common kind of worms for worm bins are red worms, Eisenia foetida, also known as red wigglers. You can buy them at pet shops that sell them as live food, or from a bait store, garden center, or you can buy them from a worm farm either locally or have them shipped to you. I don’t know where I’ll buy mine from yet, but if I can find a local worm farm or garden center then that’s where I’ll get them. Plus, they might be able to help me out if I run into any problems.

Groceries by foot

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Last week, I decided that my weekly adventure would be to walk over to the farmer’s market at Rice University. I looked the location up and set out in the general direction, knowing that it is only about a mile and a half away, so it shouldn’t be that bad of a walk even in the afternoon.

Well, turns out that the parking lot the farmer’s market is in is enormous AND that I really didn’t know where I was going. So I wandered around on the edge of Rice’s campus (which at least is wonderously shaded by live oaks) far out of my way, and then got very lost on my way back. Turns out some of the roads over there near campus don’t follow a grid pattern and a couple are cul de sacs or are closed off from the main road because of construction. So I did some backtracking and wandering until I finally came out only a block away from where I wanted to be. At least I had blessedly decided to buy some sunscreen at the drugstore on the way there, so I didn’t get fried to a crisp. When I finally got home, I had been gone from 3:05 until almost 5:30. I enjoyed a lovely, very cold, bath, too, mostly for my poor little feet!

Since then, I thought a bit about what would make that trip more enjoyable. I bought a street map and a hat, plus some ice packs to keep food cold. I also figured out which bus I could catch if I was too tired or had too much to carry back home, and that the nearest train station is only four blocks away.

In other words, I did all the planning I should have done in the first place.

Today, I set out with my hat and sunglasses, sunscreen applied, and two bags, one canvas and one insulated with an ice pack. I left at 3:15 and was back home by 4:45! It’s amazing what knowing where you are going can do.

Here’s my haul from the farmer’s market.

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That’s ground beef, pork sausage, kale, cauliflower, squash, mushrooms, veggie samosas, and cilantro chutney. I also had an iced coffee, which was very nice.

It was a pretty pleasant walk this week. My route is about 50/50 sun and shade, and it is anywhere from breezy to gusty. So even though it is hot and a bit humid, it is no where near unbearable. Plus, one of the houses had its sprinklers misting the sidewalk, which is a treat. Next time, I might put a frozen washcloth in a bag so that I can cool off a bit before shopping. All in all, it was less than 3 miles round-trip.

Worm Project

You might have noticed that in my To Do list I have listed: Make a worm box. I have been wanting to create a worm box for a long time, but have never actually taken any steps towards one. Well, other than reading about it. But since I have heard from several sources that I need to write more blog posts and I have plenty of time, I figured I would start working on it now.

A worm box is simply a way to compost your kitchen scraps using worms. Worms eat your garbage and eventually compost it. This keeps your kitchen scraps out of the landfill if you don’t have anything that will eat them, and is good for your garden.

I’m interested in worm composting because it can help us reduce how much trash we make. We also recycle and use reusable shopping and produce bags. There is plenty more that we could do, I’m sure, but this is a good start.

Like almost anything that more than one person does, there are plenty of ways to get started and what you need to think about. For me, this is a good way to do nothing, because I can get caught up in figuring out the just right way of doing whatever it is and not actually do anything. For now, I’ve decided to stop waiting until I could begin this perfectly and just get on with making a worm box.

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I’m using a Rubbermaid Roughneck 18 gallon bin for my container, because it is what I have on hand and it is about the right size for the balcony. I followed the directions from this site, but I drilled a few more holes than they did, because my container is a big bigger. I am also not using a second bin, because I don’t want to drill holes in two of our bins. I am just going to set it up on bricks/rocks/somehow and let it drain that way. It’s important that the materials and all don’t get too wet. Or too dry, but that seems to be easier to deal with. Supposedly the worms will not try to escape, or at least not if they are happy in the bin.

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Tomorrow, I am going to work on getting the bedding ready for worms.

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