Composting in Hattie Carthan Community Garden

Some pests can be a city garden’s best friend.

Kenta Darley-Usmar, 26, taught children and parents how easy city composting can be at Hattie Carthan Community Garden’s Pumpkin Festival on Oct. 30. It took less than fifteen minutes to create a small compost bin filled with moistened-newspaper and food scraps.

“Can you imagine eating half your weight in food each day?” Darley-Usmar asked the children as he taught them about worms and soil.

Children appeared less squeamish than adults at the event and got over their fears of touching worms rather quickly. Jada, 5, exhibited a natural green thumb even though she’d never composted before.

Worms make quick work of food scraps, coffee grounds, and newspaper and turn this trash into nutrient-rich soil in weeks even days. Worms eat fast and thrive as long as there is a healthy ratio between nitrogen-rich materials like vegetable scraps, and carbon-rich materials like paper. If you don’t want to compost at home, you can keep your scraps in the freezer, which will prevent odors, and then bring scraps to your local community garden. Be careful of fruit peels – as they can attract fruit flies. Darley-Usmar explained that flies can already exist inside peels and grow in warm conditions.

If you don’t have a nearby community garden, visit the Community Compost Project at Union Square.

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