Friday, May 20, 2011

Vermicomposting, my newest endeavor

I have a compost bin (the Earth Machine) in the backyard but I'm not finding it very satisfying. I can't use it in the winter because I can't get to it through the snow and it freezes shut. Plus I don't take care of it very well (Ron says it's not a compost heap, just a heap of rotting vegetables) and therefore don't exactly get compost from it. We don't have a lot of "brown" material (dried leaves, newspaper, grass clippings) to add to it along with all of the vegetables and it really needs a mix of carbon rich and nitrogen rich materials to thrive.

I have wanted a worm composting bin for a long long time. I haven't gotten one because it seems like a lot of work, I'm slightly creeped out by worms and worry about the kids getting in there. Well screw all that because I have jumped right in! I got my Worm Factory 360, the worms arrived yesterday and I am ready to go. I absolutely hate putting my food scraps in a landfill and now I won't have to. I'm happy to report that so far all is well. There were a few escapees last night but in general it seems very healthy in there. The worms have spread out and pretty much disappeared from view, down into the carefully prepared bedding I provided for them. I have some food scraps in the corners and if they have started eating them within three days I can start putting more scraps in there. With the right conditions it can be fully operational - meaning 5 trays high with the bottom one full of fresh, worm-made compost within 4 months.

I currently have to hold myself back from checking the bin (the worms like their privacy) more than once a day. I am constantly checking the thermometer to make sure it's not too cold (below 40) or too hot (about 80). I worry that even fully operational they won't be able to handle the large amount of vegetable scraps that we have. I guess that's what the big compost bin (aka the rotting vegetable heap) is for. I will keep you updated!
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