Author Archives: danielback

Summer Garden Internship

This summer I had the wonderful opportunity to intern at GCC’s permaculture garden. Starting the internship was eye opening. I would go around the garden and learn all about species that I have never heard of. I would learn practical, edible, and medicinal uses for plants all around the garden. I learned a lot about plants that we call “weeds” which turn out to be extremely useful such as the common dandelion, plantain, and curly dock.

I learned how to maintain plants such as strawberries, how to use plants such as comfrey to add soil fertility, and how to use radish to mark where the carrots are planted.
I think one of my favorite aspects of interning in the garden, besides munching on various types of delicious berries, was harvesting the fruits and vegetables and taking them to cafeteria so they could be incorporated into the week’s menu. It was always a lot of fun to see the amount and variety of produce that came from the garden. It was even more fun to see everything being advertised to the entire GCC community.

Even though most of my time in the garden was spent weeding and watering, I enjoyed being outside and contributing to the garden. The garden is a place where people come together and create connections through different aspects of the community. The GCC garden is a special place, and I truly feel privileged for this experience.

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Radishes harvested from the garden. Aren’t they beautiful!

Worm Composting at the GCC Permaculture Garden

For my summer garden internship I was required to take the lead in a project and implement that into GCC’s very own permaculture garden. I got excited when I heard this, and I thought that this would be the perfect opportunity to implement a composting worm bin into the garden.
Before I get into the construction of the system, there are a few things I would like to share about worms. Using worms in order to compost is called vermicomposting.

Vermicompost is rich in organic matter, nitrogen, beneficial fungi and bacteria, and many other nutrients that are beneficial to building a diverse, healthy, and strong soil food web. Vermicomposting is a great way to sustainably dispose of most kitchen scraps, and paper products. Worms break down material way faster than an ordinary compost pile without worms.

After a long time researching and designing plans for the system, I came up with a fairly cheap and simple system that anyone can build and implement into their homes.
• First I gathered the materials needed: an even number of storage bins (with lids), an electric screwdriver for making holes, pvc tubing (not pictured here), and worms.

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• I then started drilling holes in the bottom of half of the bins. These holes are for drainage purposes so the worms won’t drown.

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• Next, I cut some pvc to put in the bottom of half of the bins. This serves as a way to elevate the bins with holes in them so that the water and liquid in the bins can be sufficiently drained. Anything can be used for this; pvc was just the easiest thing for me to obtain.

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• After this step I put the bin with the holes in it on top of the pvc in the other bin. I then cut holes in the side of the bin, the part that sticks above the bin with pvc in it. These holes serve as aeration holes so the worms can get enough oxygen to live. I also cut holes in the lid.

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• Next comes time to start adding your bedding, or whatever you want to compost. It’s best to have a bin set up with scraps already in it so that the worms can have a nice place to live from the time their put into the bin. Once you have the bin ready it’s time to add the worms.

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Here’s a close up of the worms!

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• Once all of this is completed you have a fully functioning vermicomposting system. I would maybe wait a week or two before adding a lot of scraps just to let the worms get settled into their new home.

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I hope this was helpful. I learned a lot by doing this, and I had a lot of fun in the process. Happy vermicomposting everybody!