Thursday, February 9, 2012

how to make a worm compost bin

First, you may be asking yourself, what do I want with a bunch of worms? Well, if you are a gardener, then worm castings (laymen's terms: worm poo) are the equivalent of black gold. If you are concerned about your economic footprint and want to reduce garbage mounds in the landfills, they are a great way to make your kitchen waste productive! They are jam packed with the healthy bacteria that your soil needs to combat disease and regenerate itself. And most importantly, it acts as a fertilizer and a protector to any and all plants you would like to see grow in your garden.

 Making a worm bin is easy, but it does require short and easy daily maintenance. Think of them as your pets!

How to start:
  1.  Grab a plastic or styrofoam box (reusing something around the house is the best option, but make sure there are no holes in the bottom). You can pick the size but make sure it is at least a foot deep.
  2. Poke holes about 2 inches down from the top of the box on all sides.  This will allow oxygen to move through.
  3. Place a super absorbent organic material along the bottom of the box.  Dried leaves work great.
  4. Soak 4-inch squares of cardboard in water.  Have enough pieces of cardboard to create a 6-inch layer in your box.
  5. Layer your cardboard pieces onto your absorbent layer.
  6. Add your worms and cover your box.  The worms hate light and will fry in intense heat, so keep them in a dark cool environment.

Worms do not eat your kitchen scraps, they eat the bacteria and fungi that help your kitchen scraps decompose.  NOT ALL KITCHEN SCRAPS ARE CREATED EQUALLY.  Worms do not like an acidic environment, so do not add citrus, leftover salads with vinegar/oil, or too many coffee grounds.  (Coffee grounds mixed 50/50 with veggie scraps is fine)  Also, do not add anything with fat or oil, and no meat!  Worm bin scraps are vegan and adding meat products would attract unwanted pests.  Add food scraps to different corners of your worm bin each time.  The worms will travel to the food.

Caring for your pet worms:
  1. The worm bin should have the same moisture as a damp sponge.  They like a very moist environment!
  2. Make sure the worms have enough food.
  3. If the bin looks healthy and is smelling right, you  may need to air it out for a while or add more moisture.

Stay tuned for our next post about harvesting your "black gold" and enjoy your new pets!