Thursday, June 5, 2014

Vermicomposting Guide - Composting With Worms

As promised, this blog will start focusing on Vermicomposting.  But, first...Drum roll please!

Originally posted 6-14-09

The Real Digger is Revealed!

Hello!  My name is Digger Jones and I'm "coming out of the closet", so to speak.  I was entrusted with the job of writing this blog on organic gardening.  You may have visited before and come back for more.

But, I have a confession to make - up until now, I've been passing myself off as a "person", thinking you might take me more seriously.  But, you know what?  It's just not working.  I'm not being my true self and  my writing is a struggle.  Therefore, I'm revealing my true self to you, for good or for ill.

Organic worm composting

Yours Truly, Just After Flunking Obedience Training

As I said, my name is Digger (because that's what I do best).  I will be posting all the going's on here at Organic Garden Works.  If you feel like making comments or suggestions, feel free to do so - just keep them positive or I'll come bite you on the butt.

There.  That's better. It feels so-o good to let my true personality show.

Vermicomposting - The New Wave

Now, on to the business at hand.

From the activity around here of late and the calls my "persons" have been receiving from all over the country, organic gardening in general and vermicomposting in particular are becoming all the rage.  And, if the queries my "persons" are getting are any indication, there's a  real need for knowledge out there about how vermicomposting works and how to go about it.

Everybody's worried about keeping their worms healthy and keeping them in their place.  (Worms do, after all, crawl sometimes for no apparent reason.  Those worms are all mine!).  Folks want the worms to reproduce, giving them more worms to make more compost, and they want it to be easy and not too time consuming.  Are you one of those folks? 

Well, I've been assigned, in my next series of posts, to write a  vermicomposting story- a "Show-and-Tell", if you will.  You and I will be taking it step-by-step, learning how my humans are maintaining our very own home vermicomposting system to process our kitchen waste  - the stuff I don't eat, that is.

Worm Compost Bins

The first bin you'll read about is a "Worm Friendly Habitat".  This bin is a simple system comprised of a box, a fitted lid with air holes, and a tray for underneath.

Worm composting  bin

There are air holes in the side and on the bottom and little legs on the bottom to elevate the bin off the tray.  A piece of landscaping cloth, cut to fit, is placed in the bottom of the bin to prevent the worms from escaping, yet allowing air flow.  Excess water can drain into the tray, but, as you'll learn, if water's draining out, your bin is too wet.

The lid and air holes in this box work great, letting air in while keeping critters out.  I know, I've tried - worms can be very tasty. Have you ever tried one?

After the Worm Friendly Habitat, we'll try one of the multiple tray systems that promise to make harvesting the finished compost easier. You'll see how both these types of Vermicomposting bins work and how effective they are at keeping your worms happy and healthy. 

Organic Gardening Helpers

From time to time, you'll be hearing from the other residents of our humble abode.  There's Polly and her evil twin Ester:

Compost with earthworms
  Polly and Ester
 How come I can't get on the furniture?

And, there's Her Royal Sheiky-ness, our Arabian horse:

How to compost with worms
Portrait by my "person"
 (Watch out for that wicked left- hind)

Arabs, as you probably know, are considered the aristocracy of the horse world. She provides wonderful manure for composting that I just love to roll in (you should try it sometime, there's nothing like a good roll in fresh, smelly horse manure.  Although, Her Sheiky-ness's doesn't smell, of course.  Just ask her).

Everyone does his or her part around here, although I haven't yet figured out the house cats' exact reason for being.  They do give me lots of advise and council, ordering me and everyone about with that peculiar way-of-the-cat.  THEY think they're being useful, so I try to humor them.  But, one of these days......

Next..... Types of Composting Worms

There are several types of worms you can use for composting, so check back next time for a discussion on some of them.  They all taste the same to me.

Vermicomposting Resources:

Make worm compost with earthworms

Red Worms: Nature's premier vermi-composting earthworm

European Nightcrawlers: Excellent composting worm and THE best fishing worm

VermaPlex®: Worm composting bedding enhancer

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