March 14: This Week in Gardening Club – Worms!

Dear Gardening Club!

I hope this email finds you in peaceful enjoyment of spring and that your flower seed “bombs” have dried on your porch in the hot afternoons.  I wanted to remind you that flower bombs should only be used in an urban setting and not in national or state parks.  So a dead sidewalk or empty lot is great–toss it in, hope for rain and sit back and wait.

WormsThis upcoming week, we have some live visitors!  Most of you may have enjoyed the ladybugs last week, but this week we have something which is even more exciting in gardening: worms!  If you ask any veteran gardener, high earthworm counts are the sign of a healthy garden. 

Earthworms, through their small but continuous actions, can move twenty tons of soil per acre every year.  How is that for power through numbers!

Some of you may even keep worm bins and be better versed in worm husbandry than I.  Worm composting (or vermicomposting) is one of the most fun and child-friendly activities you can do for a healthier garden.  The redworm (which is different than the orangish-brown worms you find in your dirt) can consume a third of its body weight per day in organic matter.  Initially, much like your baby, you have to help your worms settle in with small chopped scraps and even a puree, but once they’ve taken off, a three-tiered system can easily accommodate all your vegetable scraps without too much fuss.

There are a few tricks to keeping them cool during the summer (keep them in shade, paint the box mostly white, take them inside if you can handle it), but they’re also easy to dump and start anew the following winter when the heat dies down.

And, because we all have kids with developing immune systems (and curious fingers), there will be hand sanitizer for after you are done. 

However, for the safety of the worms, please don’t go back into the worm bin *after* you have hand-sanitized.  🙂

***

On a non-gardening note, since I have a captive audience…I wanted to share with some of the newer parents what CDI is about.

CDI is a nonprofit organization, unlike Kidspace or Gymboree and you know this because you aren’t paying $200+ for a membership here. Most of CDI is run by volunteers, with a very lucky collaboration with Tierra del Sol and LAUSD’s Miller Career and Transition Center, who help adults with developmental disablities obtain work experience. The volunteers are also from all walks of life, and many are still in high school, so be kind to them.  I wanted to mention this because not all developmental disabilities are visible and to exercise patience when asking a volunteer for help.

So what is CDI other than a free indoor playground with museum-quality toys?  It’s a place where parents can play with their children while getting information or assistance about child development, nutrition, or other topics should they need it.  CDI offers free developmental screenings (anyone can go) and if there are any concerns, they can help you get the support you need.  If you think there’s something developmentally strange with your child, you can go to a free screening.  If another parent wonders about their child’s delays and is unsure where to go for help, you can tell them that CDI offers free screenings.

CDI is one of the rare gems of the valley, and even though it is free does not mean that it is cheap or easy to do.  It’s free because of the very hard work and aggressive fund-raising that has to happen to keep this Center open.

So if you see a weed and don’t mind pulling it, do so.  If your kid makes a mess (it’s ok), guide him/her to clean it up before moving onto the next play area.  If other parents ask you what CDI is, now you know and can explain.  You can all be parent ambassadors in-training.  🙂

 ***

See you Friday!

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ELC Mom, Master Gardener, Parent Ambassador & Garden Club Coordinator

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