17. August 2009 · 2 comments · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: , ,

“Vermi…what? Okay Major Mom, now what are you trying to do????”

All summer I’ve been basking in yummy veggies being harvested: lettuce, green beans, tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots and hops! Earlier this season I was using my compost to fertilize things and that really helps — but over the past month the balance in the compost has been thrown off and now my compost is this nasty slimy stinky mess. I’ve already had to clean out the sludge a couple times this past month and things aren’t improving. Too much moisture, not hot enough, not enough “brown matter” such as dry leaves.

This fall I will be able to work in the leaves as they fall from the trees, but until then, my compost is more or less useless. I can buy stuff to help things along, and I’ve done that before, but I think it’s a bit late in the season to make it worth the $20 cost. Heck, it gets so cold here in the winter, the compost will not really get back to work until springtime.

So here I am, compostless. With little hope until springtime.

It rained a lot this past weekend…and while I was working on my garden just after a 1/2″ soaker, I noticed the plethora of earthworms surfacing. And how fabulous the soil is when lots of earthworms are working through it — the soil remains aerated and rich. The boys and I dug up a couple hundred worms and tossed them into the compost bin — hopefully there are enough yummies still in there for the worms to help things out some.

That, of course, led me to hopping on the web and learning more about the worm casting process. Fascinating! With little more than a plastic bin and the old bills and papers I shred anyway, I could continue to generate compost all winter long!

So on Sunday I did it — I ordered a batch of red wiggler worms that should be here by mid-week. In the meantime, I started preparing a bin so that as soon as the worms arrive they can go in.

I found many commercially available household worm bins for sale, usually for $75-150. But really, I think this is something I could do myself.

First I found one of the many storage totes that I tend to break out for PCS time. You’ll see that this one was marked “Christmas” and last year was filled with legacy Christmas lights. Over the past couple years we’d converted to LEDs, so I just tossed the old lights into a paper bag. Anyway, I drilled some 1/4″ holes into the bin, across the bottom and along the top half.

From 2009 08 17 Vermicomposting
From 2009 08 17 Vermicomposting

Then I filled the bin with shredded paper and some paperboard, such paper egg carton material. Then wet down the paper to a “wrung-out sponge” consistency. The worms now have a new home waiting for them.

From 2009 08 17 Vermicomposting

I’ll be sure to let the world know how this turns out!