Getting back to the irregularly scheduled noodlin’…I did a cool little project last week.
Since last May, I have been obsessed with the idea of vermicomposting. And, you know, having a few hundred pet worms because how could that not be completely awesome? Like many of the projects I think about, I’m always afraid to get started because I’m worried I’ll fail and in this case I didn’t want innocent lives to be lost if I didn’t get it right.
I finally decided to just go for it. I ordered worms from Uncle Jim’s Worm Farm — the woman I spoke with last year said she had lots of success with his worms. Five hundred red wrigglers were on my doorstep two days later.
Oops! My new friends arrived before I had a chance to make a home for them! (The pics are wonky because I was working in a hurry with awful light…sorry! I think you can still see what’s going on.)
When the worms arrive, they are shipped in dry soil…
…so you have to give them a drink of water as soon as possible. I watered them and put them in a bin to hang out while I went to the store and got supplies for their house.
I had no idea what I was doing, but I knew I needed something small and, since I don’t have major tools (how did I get to be 33 and not have acquired a drill? *scratcheshead*) it would have to be something I could work with using what I had.
I found these:
Perfect! They’re small, about 15″ sqaure and 18″ tall, have lids (I’ll show you in a second) and were only around $8 each.
First, I put holes in the bottom of one of the bins. The easy way to do this would have been to use my imaginary drill, but using a hammer and nail worked fine for me. I might borrow a drill and make some bigger holes if I need more drainage. Worms will drown if there is too much water in the bottom of the bin.
Then I put a plant carrier upside-down in the bottom of the second bin.
I placed the bin with holes in it on top.
The bottom bin serves as a drip collector for that fabulous worm tea (Do not drink it! It is for your plants!) that will drain as things start to decompose.
Once it is all assembled, I created some layers of bedding. There are lots of different ways to do this but since this is a really simple bin I’m just creating a couple of brown layers (shredded newspaper, dirt, dried leaves, and grass clippings) for the bottom. I watered the bedding and made sure everything was moist (think wrung-out sponge).
And then showed the worms into their new home!
Their first meal:
And, with the lid on:
The worms need air to circulate through the bin. If your lid doesn’t lift up like mine, you can drill holes around the top edge of the bin.
So, that’s basically all there is to it. Any of those links up there provide lots of detailed information about how to build your own and can answer questions like “Will my worms try to escape?” or “What/how much should I feed them?” or “When can I harvest the soil?”. I just wanted to do a quick little post to show you all how easy this is to get started and that composting doesn’t need to take up a lot of space or even happen outside.
I have the bin in my apartment…it doesn’t smell and hasn’t attracted any flies or anything icky. I keep checking to see if they’ve eaten anything. (They’re really feasting on the quinoa and coffee grounds, but it doesn’t look like they’ve touched the carrot yet…maybe they prefer gooey stuff?) I’ll keep you posted and post pics after they’ve feasted for a few weeks.
Have you tried vermicomposting? Any tips? If you haven’t tried it and decide to give it a whirl, let me know how it works out for you! =)