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May 092013
 

JADALNIA WARSZAWA

We kindly invite you to help us launch a long-term project to create an alternative map of  Warsaw (in particular Ochota and Mokotów), focusing on its edible plants and trees, soil health, as well as on how public space is used for marginal human and animal activity. On this first walk we’ll experiment with methods of data collection and help identify the most edible/useful plants and trees one can find in Warsaw.

WHERE TO MEET:
The walk will start here, near where Żwirki i Wigury crosses the railroad tracks (the address is approximately 25 Żwirki i Wigury) between Ochota and Mokotów. We will walk here on the path (Mikołaja Drigały) towards Grójecka. After the walk, we’ll go to Pixxe’s garden and drink teas made from black currant leaves, and taste some homemade elderflower cordials and wine.

The walk starts at NOON on Sunday, May 12. It will last between 2-3 hours and is approximately 1.6 km. Please call 796 532 208 if you need to locate the group after the walk has begun.

WHAT TO BRING:
Paper, pencil, smart phone, camera, video camera.

JADALNIA WARSZAWA (Warsaw Canteen) is an exploratory map-making project to investigate and mark sites for wild food, fruits, bioindicators, and the traces of land use by humans and animals as a means to understand and assess the health of our city. It is a long-term project originated and implemented by Jodie Baltazar and Paulina Jeziorek and consists of a series of urban walks/hikes which take place from May until October 2013.

We use all means of data collection: marking directly on paper copies of maps, adding date through mobile phones to google.pl and fallingfruit.org, recording media information, such as audio, photographs, video etc. As the project progresses, we will store information on a website and develop new ways we to present the information/images as the project progresses.

The aim of walks will be:

Mapping the Neighborhood: Exploration of urban space; creating maps of urban food crops such as fruit trees and shrubs, edible flowers, herbs, medicinal plants, and plants used for dyeing fabrics. By identifying specific plants that grow on the land, we can assess the type and health of soil. We also collect information on unoccupied buildings, abandoned plots, as wells as temporary structures and signs and traces of consumption and human subsistence activity (trash, eating, fires).

Monitoring of soil: While walking, we will collect soil samples from selected sites and transmit it to the laboratory. We may also conduct other tests of the soil as to its structure and composition. In this way we will be able to assess which of the sites are suitable for harvesting crops. The data will be used to scrutinize the stereotypes about growing food in the city as well as urban consumption of edible plants.


Feb 222013
 

Once you have an active compost bin of good size, composting in the winter is easy — so long as you don’t mind hauling garbage around in freezing cold weather. On the “Pixxe Farm” there are two composting bins, each about 1500-2000 liters in capacity. One of the bins has been resting since late September, but the other has been taking about 100 liters of waste per week, thanks to a few dedicated Rakowiec residents who happen to eat a lot of whole foods.

Both bins are quite warm and full of worms about 12 cm ( 5 inches) below the surface layer of straw and leaves. They are busy eating, mating, and generally taking care of garbage-related business. Here is a pair of worms making new worms. Hurrah. These guys are not California Red Wigglers, which we have indoors. They are what I call “Polish composting worms” or “The Crawlers”. I didn’t put them in the bin. They found their way to it all by themselves. They spread the word underground… They are not earthworms but most likely Eisenia Hortensis, or European Nightcrawlers. (Wigglers are Eisenia Fetida.) The Crawlers are larger and can withstand lower temperatures than the Wigglers. What’s great about these guys is that they are free and native — one of our gardeners has been keeping some of these fellows inside since August, and they are doing very well! Hail the worm.

Worms making more worms

Worms making more worms

Jan 072013
 

Jodie Baltazar

A filmmaker and photographer named Piotr Małecki has been making beautiful little photo-film essays about Warszawians, and he recently finished one about me. I find it (that is to say, myself) a bit melancholy: a tiny bit of hope amid mounds of difficulty and sorrow. Or is that simply melodrama? You decide.

Be sure to watch all of Piotr’s other movies (subtitled as necessary). They are gems.

Jan 062013
 

Today, three months since the worms went into their charming bucket home, I harvested the first batch of compost/humus/worm castings. How? I’ll tell you how. This is the hand-harvesting method. Check back in a few months and we’ll show you the migration-harvesting method.

Worm Box from Pallets

Worm Box from Pallets

First — Don’t feed the worms for a week or so. Give them a chance to eat all the food.

Second — Build a home. We partially built this box last October and here it is, finished a last. It is made from a pallet, 30 cm x 40 cm x 12 cm. From a a single Euro Pallet one could made 4 such boxes. On the bottom is a double wire mesh — one made of metal (for strength) and one plastic (to make the holes smaller). It was difficult to find the right size of mesh here. The design is simply this — all boxes are the same size with two boards on either of the 40 cm sides, which hang over a few centimeters. This overhanging board means the the boxes can stack on atop another, and serve as legs for the lowermost box. Perhaps not elegant, but simple it is. The next time I need to harvest the vermicompost, I will put another box (with a screen bottom) on top of this one.

Worm Bedding

Worm Bedding

Third –Fill the home. Here we have the usual stuff: newspaper, straw, cardboard (can you spot USPS package?), some eggshells, a handful of sand, brown paper, office paper, etc.

Fourth — Wet the home. Add water to the home until it is, as they say, like a wet sponge.

Fifth — Sift out the old worms from their old home. This will take some time. Dump the contents of the bucket out onto a big plastic sheet. Make a few piles and place a lamp over one of them. The worms will crawl to the bottom eventually. Pick out the not-yet-composted matter (straw, leaves, uneaten food) and place it in the new worm home. Now pick the compost off the top of the pile until only a little pile of compost and a bunch of worms remain. Move on to the next pile and continue until you have one little pile of compost full of worms. This part took a long time. A very long time.

Sixth — Put the worms and the little bit of compost into the new bin.

Seventh — Let your worms adjust to their new home for a week or so before feeding them.

The Vermicompost

The Vermicompost

Oct 072012
 
WORM DAY

WORM DAY (Photo by MH)

Yesterday we took a step towards fulfilling our Worm Dream to one day have an abundant healthy population of composting worms at Pixxe, and to help people compost their own organic waste in their own homes using worms.

WORM BIN DESIGNS

WORM BIN DESIGNS (Photo by JODIE BALTAZAR)

The design we are working on is the stackable worm bin. We discovered that from a single pallet we can make three boxes and a base. The boxes will be approximately 40 cm x 30 cm, with a depth of either 12,5-13 cm or 21 cm. We’ll start with 12,5 cm.

THE FIRST BOX

THE FIRST BOX (Photo by MH)

MESMERIZED BY A WORM BOX

WOMAN MESMERIZED BY A WORM BOX (Photo by MH)

PLASTIC BIN WORM HOME

PLASTIC BIN WORM HOME (Photo by JODIE BALTAZAR)

Our first batch of worms are living in this 20 liter black bucket. Dimensions: 35 cm diameter, 25 cm deep. First, the bedding: brown leaves, damp cardboard, newspaper, paper, straw–all of these ripped, shredded, or chopped, plus some wood chips. To this approximately 3 cups of water were added as well as 1 handful of sand, 1 handful of good soil from the garden, and 1 handful of crushed egg shells. Mix well. The bucket, about 80% full, was then left for about two days to let the water soak in. The consistency of the bedding was like a damp sponge, as is often recommended.

Into the bucket went the 500 red composting worms (dżdżownice kaliforniskie, Eisenia fetida) along with the bedding in which they were sent, which was quite decomposed. The worms quickly scurried down and out of sight. Next the bucket was topped off with a 10cm layer of leaves and straw. I decided not to drill holes in the bucket because it has quite a bit of surface area for “breathing” and the bedding itself has quite a bit of air space. So, I will need to check frequently to make sure it’s getting enough air. The bucket is in the bathroom, where it’s nice and toasty.

WORM FOOD

WORM FOOD (photo by JODIE BALTAZAR)

The worms were left alone for about 3 days to get used to their new home, and today we fed them 250g of finely chopped and rotting pears, apples, blueberries, raspberries, cabbage, kale, lettuce, zuchinni, coffee grounds, banana peels, egg shells. YUM! Go worm, go! We put the food in one half of the bucket, buried about half way. They looked really great in there wiggling around. When the stackable bin is finished, I’ll post some more photos! Thanks MH for taking photos!

Oct 032012
 

We have more than 500 composting worms who need a home. This, in fact, is a very small amount of worms! Did you know that 1 kg of worms (that’s 1000!) can eat up to 0.5 kg a day in waste. That’s almost 4 kg per week. Come and and prototype worm bins with us on Saturday, October 6 from 13.00-17.00. We’ll be using wood pallets and plastic bins. If you can, bring a plastic bin at least 25 cm deep or a pallet!

Mamy ponad 500 dżdżownic kompostowych, które potrzebują domu. Przyjdź, zaprojektuj i zbuduj z nami protoyp pojemnika na dżdżownice z drewnianych palet i plastikowych pojemników.

HOME FOR A WORM

 

Sep 272012
 

Thanks to Wojtek and Aneta from foodconnect.pl for taking these great photos of APPLE TIME last Sunday Sept 23, 2012. We canned about 3/4 of the apples!

PEEL

PEEL

CHOP

CHOP

KIDS WERE GREAT!

KIDS WERE GREAT!

THE BUSY TABLE

THE BUSY TABLE

Sep 192012
 

We have kilos upon kilos of Antonówki (Atonovka) apples and we are going to preserve them this Sunday right at the Pixxe Garden. Come along and bring a jar so that you can take some home! 23.09.2012. 15.00-17.00. The garden is located on Racławicka between Grójecka and Sierpienskiego. Directions to the Garden here.

Mamy dużo jabłek Antonówki i będziemy je zkonserwowali w tę niedzielę na działce Pixxe. Przyjdź i przynieś słoik, żeby zabrać trochę z tobą do domu! 23.09.2012. 15.00-17.00. Na ul. Racławicka między Grójecką i Sierpieńskiego. Kierunki tutaj.

Apple Time at the Pixxe Garden

 

 

 

Aug 232012
 

2 Bikes. 2 Bike Carts. 5 Days. Nance Klehm, Jodie Baltazar and A BUNCH of other cool women, plus a few good men. 15,000 liters of waste. THIS was the SOIL GARDEN PROJECT! (And it’s not over! Every other Saturday we will continue…..) Photos by Nance Klehm, Jodie Baltazar, and Jen Knowlton.

EMPTY BINS AWAIT THE WASTE

EMPTY BINS AWAIT THE WASTE

BROWNS FOR COMPOSTING - STRAW, WOODCHIPS

BROWNS FOR COMPOSTING - STRAW, WOODCHIPS

FIRST WE TAKE THE BINS TO BANACHA MARKET

FIRST WE TAKE THE BINS TO BANACHA MARKET

IT'S NOT LONG BEFORE THE BINS ARE FULL

IT'S NOT LONG BEFORE THE BINS ARE FULL

WE LOAD UP THE CARTS WITH VEGETABLE SCRAPS AND CARDBOARD

WE LOAD UP THE CARTS WITH VEGETABLE SCRAPS AND CARDBOARD

WE RIDE TO THE GARDEN WITH THE PRECIOUS LOAD

WE RIDE TO THE GARDEN WITH THE PRECIOUS LOAD

WE CAN'T RESIST THE GARBAGE IN THE CARREFOUR BINS

WE CAN'T RESIST THE GARBAGE IN THE CARREFOUR BINS

THERE'S SO MUCH CABBAGE WE DECIDE TO CALL IT CABBAGE COMPOST

THERE'S SO MUCH CABBAGE WE DECIDE TO CALL IT CABBAGE COMPOST

WE TOP THE CABBAGE WITH STRAW, CARDBOARD, PAPER

WE TOP THE CABBAGE WITH STRAW, CARDBOARD, PAPER

IN THE AFTERNOONS NANCE LEADS WORKSHOPS ABOUT COMPOSTING

IN THE AFTERNOONS NANCE LEADS WORKSHOPS ABOUT COMPOSTING

THE FIRST THING IN THE NEW BIN: WOODCHIPS & CHUNKY YARD CLIPPINGS

THE FIRST THING IN THE NEW BIN: WOODCHIPS & CHUNKY YARD CLIPPINGS

HERE IS SOME WASTE FROM BANACHA THAT WILL GO IN THE BIN

HERE IS SOME WASTE FROM BANACHA THAT WILL GO IN THE BIN

BUT FIRST WE HAVE TO RIP THE WASTE

BUT FIRST WE HAVE TO RIP THE WASTE

AND WE HAVE TO CHOP THE WASTE

AND WE HAVE TO CHOP THE WASTE

SO MUCH TO CHOP. EVERYONE GETS A GO!

SO MUCH TO CHOP. EVERYONE GETS A GO!

SOME OF US PREPARE THE CARDBOARD

SOME OF US PREPARE THE CARDBOARD

THE TRANSLATOR DOES AN AWESOME JOB!! THANKS STAN!!

THE TRANSLATOR DOES AN AWESOME JOB!! THANKS STAN!!

NEXT WE ADD SOME HERBS LIKE VETCH....

NEXT WE ADD SOME HERBS LIKE VETCH....

...AND WHY NOT THROW IN SOME DANDELION???

...AND WHY NOT THROW IN SOME DANDELION???

NEXT WE MAKE SOME COMPOST TEA

NEXT WE MAKE SOME COMPOST TEA

ALL THAT WASTE AND THE BINS ARE STILL ONLY HALF FULL - WOW!

ALL THAT WASTE AND THE BINS ARE STILL ONLY HALF FULL - WOW!

Aug 162012
 

Soil Garden Project - Location

Miejsce: Całe wydarzenie będzie miało miejsce w Ogrodzie PIXXE (PIXXE GARDEN). Lokalizacja GPS: 52.198990, 20.967910. Wejście od ulicy Racławickiej, 100 metrów na wschód od ul. Grójeckiej.

Dojazd: Weź tramwaj 7,9 lub 15 do przystanku PKP Rakowiec. Idź w kierunku połnóc do Racławickiej (nie ma znak). Skręć w prawo i przejdź 100 metrów. Wejście do ogrodu jest po prawej stronie Racławickiej.

How to get there: The event will take place at the PIXXE GARDEN located at GPS 52.198990, 20.967910. Entrance is on ul. Racławica, 100m east of Grójecka. Take Tram 7, 9,or 15 to PKP Rakowiec. Get off on the east side and walk down the hill, past the Zelmot Gardens, to the first street. It’s Racławicka but isn’t marked. Turn right (East) and walk 100m. Garden entrance is on the right.

GPS: 52.198990, 20.967910

Aug 142012
 
The garbage bins at Banacha

The garbage bins at Banacha

Yesterday, my wonderful friend Gaja and I went to the administration of Banacha. Some really nice people are in charge. I didn’t understand much, which made me sad, because the people were so interesting and funny and kind. What I did understand was that if I had a container with a lid, then I could take the waste. It seems we can take as much as we want, whenever we want, for as long as we want! The Pixxe Garden will be making a lot of humus this fall!

I also talked to really great person from Ulica Ekologiczna yesterday. And yesterday, the Gazeta Wyborcza published an article about Pixxe and my activities. It’s great to see such interest in the project. Hurrah.