Composting Made Simple

You are invited to join the Local Living Venture and the "doyenne of decomposition" Janet Lomastro for a journey into the (turns out!) not-so-mysterious ways of creating black gold, i.e, home made compost of the highest order - learning skills to last for a lifetime.

  COMPOSTING  * Made Simple 

 for Garden and Home Food-Waste 

Saturday, September 20, 10 am - 12 noon, Potsdam, NY

The workshop location in Potsdam, NY and other information you will need is shared upon registration - this workshop often fills up, so reserve now at and please include your phone number in the unlikely event of postponement!

We have offered "Composting Made Simple" every Summer since 2010 -- it is always our most popular workshop of the season!  As part of our series of Beginning Gardener Workshops, Janet Lomastro, the doyenne of decomposition, will dig in the dirt once again to show you her unique and sensible 3-bin composting system, in Potsdam, NY.

What's Involved
You will leave with a very clear understanding of how to run the simplest, yet high-performing, compost pile with the least amount of effort involved. The group will be versed in the "makin', bakin' and takin'" of yard waste and food scraps, and will create a working pile that you can visit the next week to check on, to see how it's heating up!

A tour of Janet's wonderful riverside perennial garden landscape is included.  This has been our consistently best workshop in terms of attendee evaluations and attendance.

Admission & Registration
  • Attendance is limited to 12 and it fills up!
  • There is a suggested donation of $17, $7 student.   Scholarships are available when you RSVP.  Email us to RSVP for your spot -- include your phone number(s) and number in your party -- and we will send you the exact location and other information.

What to Wear / Bring
Folks should dress for the event - to include:
work clothes that you don't mind getting a little "dirty"
drinking water
sturdy shoes (preferably not open toe)

Also recommended:
bug dope
rain gear (a little drizzle will not deter us)
a notebook may come in handy?

BONUS SESSION - please check to see if this bonus session is applicable at this time.  Your RSVP Confirmation will specify, when you register.

Worm Composting

Stay a little after noon for an added bonus --
Jeff Yette and his three kids from Parishville, NY will give  presentation on vermi-composting!  Vermi-composting is raising worms for the purpose of converting organic waste products into nutrient rich soil amendments – often referred to as “black gold.”   The Yette family will share the benefits of two different varieties of earthworms known for their composting capabilities as well as what they are fed and how to start and maintain the “bedding” for the worms.  See more information below!

North Country Crawlers and VermiComposting!

Three kids from Parishville, NY - with some help from their dad (their mom wanted nothing to do with it) - have started raising worms. Vermiculture and vermicomposting are two practices for raising earthworms. The first is geared at maximizing earthworm reproduction for sale primarily as bait.
Vermicomposting is raising worms for the purpose of converting organic waste products into nutrient rich soil amendments – often referred to as “black gold.”

Madison, Cody, and Kennedy Yette, ages 12, 10 and 7 respectively, are someplace in between the culture and compost practice. With the help of their dad Jeff, they have purchased two varieties of earthworms known for their composting capabilities, but that also work well as fish bait. Red Wrigglers are a smaller variety that are quick composters and are also commonly sold as Trout Worms. European Nightcrawlers, which are larger than trout worms, but still smaller than Canadian Nightcrawlers, are hardier than their Canadian cousins and are more tolerant of higher temperatures. Because of this, European nightcrawlers typically do not require refrigeration as bait except in extreme heat. They are a “lively” worm and make excellent bait. In addition to the purchased worms, the kids have been harvesting “night crawlers” the traditional way – with a flashlight at night after a good rain.

The worms are kept in a tote system made from plastic storage totes available at many area stores. They are fed household fruit and vegetable scraps as well as decaying leaf and grass clippings. Another favorite “snack” of the worms are coffee grounds (filter and all) and ground up eggshells. Everything from apple cores, banana peels, and that mushy cucumber that ended in back corner of your refrigerator's vegetable drawer, all make excellent composting material.

With the exception of the initial worm investment and $20 in totes, all other materials for the worms have been acquired free. The Yettes are using all of their household non-citrus fruit and vegetable scraps, along with leaves and yard clippings to feed the worms. The “bedding” for the worms starts out as shredded newspaper and just a little bit of soil. As they prepare to sell worms from a self-service fridge on their porch, they will prepare “bait cups” with more shredded newspaper material.

“We are starting out very small this year experimenting with what will work in the North Country climate. The worm bins are outside on our back porch, but will have to be moved into our basement soon as the temperature inside the bins gets too hot, by mid June. We also need to see how they'll do over the winter months,” said the kids' father Jeff Yette. The composting process has virtually no odor and many people have bin/bucket systems they keep right in their kitchens or closets. (NOTE: The LLV is aware of college students who have kept a tote of wrigglers stashed under their dorm room bed!)

The Yette's are using this experience to learn entrepreneur skills and will hold “meetings” to discuss things like costs of goods, marketing, doing competitive analysis to help set price points, and planning distribution for next year based on demand. They will also look into other requirements and associated expenses for things like getting a Tax Identification number, registering UPC codes as needed, and joining local chambers of commerce.

They will use this year to introduce themselves to area retailers that sell bait worms and establish relationships with people that can provide larger quantities of organic waste. If you think about all of the fruit, vegetable, coffee grounds, and newspaper that are thrown out, there is a steady supply of composting material that worms can quickly turn into usable gardening material. The entire vermicompost process to harvest both the worms and “black gold” is as short as three months.

PHOTO CREDIT: Local Living Venture, June 19, 2010 Composting Workshop (and the first workshop ever coordinated by the LLV!)