We had so much fun last week on our first walk, that before we’ve even documented it properly, we want to do it again. So, although it’s a bit late notice, please join us TOMORROW, Sunday 19.05, at 12.00 at the PKP Służewiec bus stop (north side). We’ll walk along the tracks and end up on Gimnastyczna street for some sweets, homemade jam and wild tea (black currant, mint). If you need to join in the middle of the walk, please call 796 532 208 (Jodie), 790 025 145 (Paulina)
We started the journey on a sidewalk of magic carpets.
Under our feet, a strange patch of red. Amaranth, perhaps? It seems to me somebody might have spilled her groceries here, but how many people actually eat amaranth seeds?
Behind a mass of growth looms a mysterious house, one of three pre-war houses in Rakowiec. This was and shall be known as My Dream House.
Before we even start walking, The Usual Suspects present themselves: Ground Ivy, Ground Elder, Chickweed, Grapes, Clover, Nettles, Dead Nettles. There will be more of these suspects later. I notice a strange red bamboo-like plant which I know now is called Japanese Knotweed, an invasive plant that came to Europe in the 19th century. I’m sad that it’s not real bamboo.
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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I am offering an after school class at Primary School Nr. 10 in Warsaw that will install a garden on the school grounds and teach kids how to cook. We will build raised bed boxes and plant vegetables and herbs in March. Until then, we will be cooking up all sorts of delicious food. In English!
Oferuję dodatkowe zajęcia dla dzieci u podstawowej szkoły nr. 10 w Warszawie. Instalujemy ogród na terenie szkoły i nauczymy się dzieci, jak to gotować. W marcu zbudujemy szkrzynki (“raised beds”) i w nich sadzimy warzywa i zioła. Do tego czasu, będziemy gotowały dużo smaczne jedzenie! Po angielsku!
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.
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.
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.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!
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.
On Sept 19, 2012 I held a jam-making party in the local park as part of the M4 Rakowiec community action project organized by the great people at Odblokuj. We made jam from wild elderberries, wild grapes and Antonówki apples from the garden. Wild fruits of Rakowiec! There were some really sweet old ladies there, but sadly I didn’t get any photos of them.
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.
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.