Sunday, February 26, 2012

Vermicomposting.....As Beginners

Well friends, we have worms!! That's right, we have 2 pounds of worms(about 2,000 worms) in our house right now! In an attempt to cut back on our waste production, and with the desire to improve our soil quality we have decided to begin Vermicomposting(composting with worms)!

After much research we built our worm house out of two plastic totes. The inner tote has about 15 holes 1/2 an inch in diameter drilled into the bottom, with window screen covering them, allowing for moisture to seep into the bottom tote, a catch bin. We also drilled holes into the lid with another screen attached in order to allow ventilation.

Once we built our worm house we ordered our wiggly friends! We ordered our two pounds of worms from: Uncle Jim's Worm Farm. It cost $39.95 plus shipping/handling for our worms to be shipped to our door. We learned in our research that it is best to use red wigglers because they can "stand the heat" better, literally they are the best to stand the heat produced by the composting material. Our worms arrived a little on the skinny side, as they got a little hungry and thirsty on their trip, but the packaging included instructions on how to perk them up a bit. The worms once acclimated, produce their entire mass in casting a day (worm poop, the good stuff for composting), and adjust their numbers based the size of their container and quantity of food.

We collect our kitchen scraps in a recycled ice cream container(the gallon size) and freeze them for 3 days. We actually have 2 containers so we can rotate between collecting and freezing (well and cause we like ice cream!) The reason, I found out in my research, that you want to freeze the scraps is because it kills the gnat eggs that may be present in the food, and it helps keep down the odor. We have not had a problem with any smell though!

To get started we added a bag of top soil for the worms to get comfy in, and some shredded paper to regulate moisture and as worm food. Then we added the first of the kitchen scraps and our hungry and thirsty worms. After we added the worms we added a few cups of water to moisten everything. It was a pretty simple process all together!

After all that, we wait a few months and we will have nutrient rich compost to feed our garden!

A few sources that helped us get going: