Thursday, August 27, 2009

What a great idea! The Midway Barter Market

In the Hamline Midway neighborhood, neighbors long for a local co-op grocery store. While the community waits to have a walkable venue for locally grown food, they have come to their own devices; setting up a dropsite for Whole Farm and creating the Midway Barter Market.

Whole Farm Co-op is a network of 30+ farms near the Twin Cities. By getting together to do orders, marketing, and delivery, they are able to be small producers who really know & care about what they offer us as consumers. Customers order online; products include meats, dairy, groceries, crafts, garden produce in the summer, and more. Midway deliveries will be monthly on the 3rd Wednesdays at the drop site at Hamline/Thomas SuperUSA. This means ordering at by the second Wednesday.

At the Midway Barter Market, neighbors exchange handmade goods, garden grown produce, softly used items and plants without the use of money! All sorts of items have been exchanged and its a fun time! There are even the occasional garden and henhouse tour, or impromptu juggling lessons in a kid friendly space. Come on down on Sunday to hang out with your neighbors and swap your goods and have a great time! The Midway Barter Market is now on Sundays 1-3 pm on the boulevard at the Anderson Oaks place, 1724 Englewood Ave until the season ends. See photos of the market here.

These great options have been brought to fruition by community members who participate in the Hamline Midway Environment Group, Mighty Midway Greening and Growing, LISN (Leasdership in Support on Neighborhoods) and specifically due to the efforts of Nine Dodge.

Monday, August 17, 2009

August is National Community Garden Awareness Month and 4th Annual Parade of Community Gardens

The 4th Annual Parade of Community Gardens!!
August 22nd - 10:00am to 2:00pm

There is a great group of community gardens participating this year on the Parade, all are bringing attention to & celebrating in these vital greenspaces in our communities!
Forty community gardens from across the Twin Cities & greater Minnesota open their gardens to the public. Experience the unique and individual gardening efforts happening around the state. Gardens will feature a variety of attractions including music, cool treats, a goat, heirloom tomato festival, a beehive and more! Here are a couple profiles:

  • At the Accord Community Garden in SE Como Minneapolis, visitors will find viola music, birthday cake and ice cream along with beautiful native plants under a one-of-a-kind sculpture.

  • At the Midway Greenspirit Garden in the Midway, the feature will be the bees! Community beekeepers will be on hand to describe the symbiosis of having a hive in a community garden and what it entails.

The event is a free & self-guided tour, rain or shine. Details and brochure maps, in English & English/Spanish, can be found at or call Gardening Matters at 612-492-8964.

Find more information on National Community Garden Awareness Month at

Monday, August 10, 2009

Worm Bin Washout

I have been trying to get the last worm bin task for weeks now. In fact, others want worms and are waiting on me. The bin was now too heavy to tote in and out every time I think of digging in, so it sat in the backyard waiting until I could harvest the last of the worm castings. Then the big rain came. I had thought of this scenario, and while my bin's lid has some small holes in the lid for ventilation, the tarp I kept over the works should keep the rain out. Well, not so. When I opened up to finish the belated harvest with my daughter's help, the worms were in the top of the bedding trying to find some air with puddles encroaching all around. The whole bin was sogged out, the bedding had the consistency of a too-thick brownie batter.

What to do? The bottom-side spigot was already open. The bin's bedding had so much water holding capacity that tipping to pour off water only dislodge the whole mess. The bin contained too much dense mass to even consider that evaporation could dry it out.

I needed to add something that would absorb excess moisture. Since we augment our gas furnace with a wood pellet stove, the pellets themselves jumped into mind. These pressured bits of sawdust are handy when cleaning spills and turns out they can sop up a soggy worm bin too. I added them slowly and carefully incorporating as I went. Laverme's Worms warns of using sawdust in vermicomposting because they can dry out the bedding too much. In the end, the pellets turned out to be a save and my original bin is now three.