Well, it’s official folks! Our good friend, ‘Mark from Kansas’ has become Red Worm Composting’s very first staff writer. I finally found someone who will work for worms! (haha – kidding)
As I mentioned at the beginning of Mark’s recent guest post (Mark and his OSCR Worm Bin), I’ve been bugging him about writing for the site for awhile now. Ever since buying worms from me last winter he has been sending me emails about all his cool vermicomposting projects – not to mention sharing his helpful winter worm bin heating strategy, and posting lots of helpful comments on the blog. I just KNEW he’d be a great addition to the ‘team’, since one of my main goals here at RWC has been to get people excited about vermicomposting. If the overwhelming response to his OSCR post is any indication, it looks as though Mark is definitely going to be helping out in that department.
Anyway, I don’t want to waste too much space sharing MY thoughts about all this (will certainly add more in this week’s newsletter), so without further ado, here is a little more about Mark (written by the man himself)…
Let me tell you a little bit about Mark from Kansas.
Mark and his lovely wife Letty
I live in well… Kansas. My wife and I are in the health care field. When we moved into a really nice house a few years ago, the yard was a mess. We even found what was left of a frozen turkey in a cooler in the back yard. The backyard was over run with weeds and the front wasn’t much better. We bought some plants and the yard started to look better. After I cleared the weeds and brush, I took it to the city compost place. There I discovered compost. I took all I could haul and top dressed the flower beds. I then started to research municipal compost and was not all that impressed but, it looked good.
I turned my attention to the lawn and that giant pool of water out back after it rained. I could not grow grass to save my life. It was like the dirt was damaged. One of my residents was telling me about the great dust bowl back in the 30’s. I started to read about the dust bowl and figured that’s what happened to my yard. It turned out to be a good guess. Earlier I mentioned how I wasn’t impressed with the municipal compost – the weed seeds germinated nicely and overtook the grass seed in a matter of two weeks.
So, not wanting to spend money on synthetic fertilizer, I did more research and found redwormcomposting.com and thought “this is the biggest bunch of crap I have ever read!”
The worms are going to eat my garbage, that’s a good one!
[Editor’s Note: Mark, you are fired! ;-)]
I think I read everything on the website for about 4 – 5 months before I bought my first pound of worms, mainly because I did not think it would work. I followed the instructions, I even challenged the idea of keeping it outside, it stayed warm like it was suppose to. I noticed that the worms were really doing what they do. We had some really cold weather coming in so I decided to add a heater (that can be viewed elsewhere in this website).
My wife came up with the heater idea. I decided to move the bin inside because I got tired of going out to the cold garage. A few weeks later I noticed that all the food was gone, the bin had an earthy smell to it, and there were these little lemon looking things all over.
I harvested and split the bin. The vermicompost (VC) was so rich looking and the funny thing was, it use to be our trash. Then I split again, bought some more worms, and got hooked.
We use the VC in our flower beds; one bed was mostly sand and the other was mostly gravel. Man did those plants grow. We also started a vegetable garden as well. The tomatoes did well and, through casual observation, they were bug free, disease free and were pretty tasty.
On a personal note, one of the residents I work with, has a dementia related illness with dementia related symptoms and short term memory loss. His wife Joann would come in every day so I got to know him through her. She told me he was an organic gardener and he would always tell her how his compost smelled. Joann did not know how important that little piece of information was. Her husband would open up to me when I would ask him about compost. He would come out of his room more if I asked him to and we became friends. We would talk about compost. Joann passed away a few months ago; I still miss her very much. She was almost motherly to me.
So here I am today. I am moving onto bigger projects. My winter project is the OSCR bin and to see how fast I can process a ton of trash.
I have smaller projects in the works and am planning a big project in the spring and summer.
I would also like to add that my wife Letty (pictured above) has been very supportive of me. She has had some ideas that I incorporated into my projects. When I was harvesting a bin last winter, I did it in the house it was too cold for me outside, she was really impressed with the VC. I was surprised that she didn’t say anything about the wheelbarrow in the back room of the house or the few worms crawling around on the carpet. Letty also brags about me at work, she is like my own personal cheerleader. One time I went to get 2 more plastic tubs for a side project, she wanted to pick them out (I suspect she choose a certain color in case I had to bring the bin inside and it would match the curtains).
Thanks Mark! Bentley here again, folks – and just so you know, I WON’T be butting in on all of Mark’s posts (apart from the odd teasing remark, perhaps). I will be adding a tiny blurb at the end of each of Mark’s articles along with his headshot, just so there isn’t any confusion over authorship. Mark will also have his own user account here, so his name will appear as the author (down below where it says “Written by Bentley” it will say “Written by Mark from Kansas”)