The Bicycling Horticulturalist (117)

pm117_640Ryan Nassichuk builds food gardens for people. His bicycle and trailer are the sole transport for himself, tools, and materials – including soil and plants! This horticulturist also builds container gardens and composters. Tour a backyard garden in which a 6-week class of students filled raised beds with soil, compost and fertilizer, did succession planting, and built a low-cost composter. Recently Ryan has added free seed-sharing to his wisdom-sharing, while continuing to propagate food gardens throughout Vancouver. This man has a low ecological footprint — or should we say bike tire tread? Episode 117. [] Watch video | Audio | iTunes


  1. someone buy that kid an electric car!

  2. Using electricity for a noble cause like creating quick soil should not bother you! We have people here in the US that waste more juice than that on their TVs in the bathroom! 😉


  3. Stuart M. says:

    Hey Logan,

    I seriously thought about vermicomposting, but didn’t think I would get the wife’s okay to put it in the kitchen. As it is, she banned the electric composter out of the house, so I have it in a supply room next to the garage. The owner’s manual claims the composter also works in very cold conditions, because the composting process keeps things warm. But I have my doubts about worms surviving Hokkaido’s winters. I think I would feel pretty bad if I killed those worms! Using the electricity does bother me, but so far, the compost looks good.

  4. Hey Stuart,

    You should also try vermicomposting. Its electricity free and although it works slower my partner and I live in a 500 sqft apartment and the worms take care of most of our compostable waste…including our junk mail :). I realize it sounds gross but the set up does not smell at all and allows us to compost inside a tiny apartment. The worms we use are the same “red wigglers” used in bait shops. Good luck with your new machine. I hear eco-electronics are all the rage in Japan. 🙂


  5. Stuart M. says:

    Probably no one cares, but I thought I would follow up on my electric composter purchase. It arrived intact here in Japan a few days ago and I have it up and running. It needs to be “primed” with a diet of sawdust, baking soda and kitchen scraps and allowed to ferment for one week, before adding any more scraps.

    First setback: the electric outlet in the supply room where I planned to have the machine doesn’t have any juice. GREAT! So I moved the thing into another supply room where my wife keeps all her artwork. She doesn’t go in there very often, but when she does… I can here the screams already! On a positive note, I went to a local lumberyard and got a box of sawdust for free. I am all excited to see wether I will get the nice black compost the manufaturer promised.

    Here in Japan kitchen garbage must be put into a special plastic bag that has to be bought. They are only 75 cents a piece, but this small amount has been enough to induce some environmental criminals to start dumping their garbage at the side of the road, even in a national park! We were using about one bag per week, I am hoping the composter will cut down on this expense a bit. We’ll see.

  6. Stuart M. says:

    Way to go Ryan! I admire his strong sense of purpose and his desire to make as small an environmental impact as possible. I too now regularly bicycle to work whether rain or shine. I get many a quizzical look from my fellow teachers at the many schools I go to. The parking lot is always full of late model, expensive cars and the main topic of conversation in the office is high gasoline prices. People just don’t get it!

    I would give anything to have the gardening experience Ryan has already accumulated. He is wise beyond his years. I think people like him will be very important in the future when everyone will be scrambling to cultivate a home garden.

    I live in a small size city here in Japan which is in dire financial condition. I wish I could interest the city officials in converting some city parkland into community gardens where apartment dwellers could cultivate a small plot. I only get friendly nods… and then notice the parklands have been converted into something called “Park Golf,” a kind of golfing that is halfway between mini-golf and real golf. Of course, those courses have to be vigorously mowed, fertilized and otherwise manicured, a further drain on city finances.

    Although we have a house, it is surrounded on all sides by asphalt. I have ordered a kitchen composter from a company called Nature Mills in California. It uses a small amount of electricty to turn the deposited kitchen scraps, aerate them and keep them at the right temperature to speed composting. I think it is a good solution for apartment dwellers or other people who have no yard where they can compost naturally. Maybe it will also reduce the amount of garbage going into landfill dumps. In theory it sounds good, but in practice? I hope I haven’t just composted $299.

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