Saturday, March 26, 2011

Everbody Hold Hands and Sing Kumbaya

Sam has been spending lots of time recently studying for her test and has left me to my own devices. I have been passing the time reading lots of gardening blogs. I have also been reading books about garbage production, oh the exciting life of a college professor. The Naturemill has been working great producing good compost in about a week. However, just the two of us have to maxing it out each week. We have been questioning what will happen when the temperature gets warmer and the garden starts producing vegetables. One thing that keeps popping up on the internet blogs are the benefits of vermicompost. So lately I have reading up on worm composting.
Things you might not have known about composting red worms:
- If you cut them in half they do not grow into two worms
- Worms lay cocoons which can contain 2-10 eggs each
- Worm populations can double in 90 days
- Worms can eat half their weight eat day in garbage
- Red worms are not ground dwelling, they live on the decomposing forest floor
- Cardboard is some of a worm's favorite food
- Worms don't actually eat the decomposing material, they are after the bacteria decomposing it
- Worms can climb, can they ever
I bought a pound of red worms and built a worm habitat from an old rubbermaid container. I threw them in and the next morning, WORMS EVERYWHERE! They had climbed out of the container and were all over the garage floor. It's ok, Sam just rolled her eyes too. If you were ever interested, it takes about an hour to pick up 1000 worms. Back to the handy dandy internet. Turns out this is very common the first night. The worms are dehydrated from their travels and not used to their new habitat so they run away. I managed to collect most of the escapees, although I am still finding mummies in weird places. After adjusting their food a little everybody calmed down.
One of a thousand or so red worms pooping black gold in the garage.
After more research the rubbermaid tubs work, but aren't ideal. The air flow is too limited for really good production. With some of my birthday money I bought a Worm Inn. It is a breathable bag with a zipper mesh top and drawstring bottom. Food goes in the top and the finished castings are harvested from the bottom.
I had an extra garbage can that already had a hole in the side that has now literally become a can of worms.
The flow through design means everything is continuous. The worms work towards the top into the new garbage so there isn't too much sorting from the bottom finished material.
The worms eat lots of things that can't go in the Naturemill like cardboard which help to further decrease our garbage production. They love damp cardboard.
Pretty nice. This is now my composting corner of the garage. Once the worms get settled and up their production I have a competition in mind. I'm going to keep track of input and outputs from both systems to see which works better. Two to three pounds of worms should have comparable throughput as the Naturemill.
I never thought I would have a can of garbage eating worms in the garage.

No comments: