Monday, March 21, 2011

Vermicomposting!

 


The next step in my "zero waste" project is composting my organic waste using worms to speed up the process (ie. vermicomposting)! I've always kind of wanted a worm farm so this is fun for me. I've been trying to grow a garden too so this is a win-win situation! Also one of the major factors for me was that it doesn't produce any offensive odors. These little guys eat up all the waste and turn it into fertilizer for my poor plants!

It's a pretty simple process, this is what I've done so far.
 I bought a bin like the one below from wal-mart for about $5. Make sure it's not see through though, the worms don't like sunlight. And you drill holes in the top and sides for aeration (worms gotta breath too!).

Then fill it with bedding. This can be ripped up cardboard, newspaper, papertowels, or brown leaves. Be careful about the paper you use, some colored inks can be toxic. I learned this the hard way! Then moisten the bedding, you want it to feel like a wrought out sponge. Next add some coffee grounds or a scoop of dirt for grit (worms need it to help them digest).

Next, add worms! You can either use red worms or european nightcrawlers. How much you should buy depends on how much waste you produce. I bought 24 at Petsmart for $4.99 because I was really eager the day after I researched this but that is not nearly enough for us. And last night I just bought a pound from Hall's Wormery for $29.50 so they should arrive any day now!

I've let my worms kind of adjust to their new home for a few days before I add a ton of food/waste but after that you can start feeding those puppies! Start little in the beginning and as they adjust and reproduce, you can feed them more and more! Here's a list of stuff you can compost:

Fruits and vegetable scraps
Stale bread
Egg shells
Coffee Grounds
Lint
Aged manures
Shredded newspaper
Used papertowels
Tea bags
Cardboard

Avoid:
Dairy
Meats,
Oily things
Non-biodegradable substances
Harsh chemicals

I'm pretty excited about this and hope it works out! Here's a great website to read up on if you're interested in starting one too! Red Worm Composting.


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