April 10, 2007
I’ve been reading a lot about indoor composting with worms, a.k.a. vermicomposting. I like the idea of recycling stuff I usually toss out into something useful and free. I had thought about an outdoor compost pile however my backyard is not very big and I would hate to infringe on my neighbours with the smell and the flies. Vermicomposting offers a smaller-scale alternative with quicker and higher nutrient yields of worm castings. Yes, it is worm poop.
Basically, you need an aerated container, bedding, moisture and organic matter. As long as you’ve created a positive worm environment, those little wigglers will eat, crap and fornicate to their heart’s content. And it doesn’t have to cost that much.
The design is called a flow-through worm bin and it’s the least labour-intensive way to harvest worm castings. There are three containers: the bottom is the base bin and the other two are processing bins. The base bin is empty and provides ventilation and a way to catch the liquid-vermicast, which you can then use as a water-downed plant fertilizer at a ratio of 10:1. You put the worms in the middle bin (with pre-drilled holes in the bottom) with dampened bedding and rotting food and as the worms eat, they create dark, rich compost. Once the middle bin starts to fill up, you place the third bin on top (again with pre-drilled holes on the bottom) and add fresh organic matter. The worms crawl through the holes to the “fresh” food and you can then harvest the middle bin. Then you start the process all over again.
I’ll be looking at buying three blue Rubbermaid Roughneck Totes, 37.9 L, 24” x 16” x 8.75”, at Canadian Tire for $6.29 each. I have some spare lath pieces to create the spacers and vented worm cover. A local environmental store sells ½ pound red wigglers for $30. I’ll grab some shredded paper from work for the bedding and ask my boyfriend to drill the holes. Then, in about 3 – 6 months, I’ll have my very own worm compost.