Showing posts with label worms. Show all posts
Showing posts with label worms. Show all posts

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Welcome Worms!

My worms were fashionably late to join the composting party I had thrown for them, but what can you do? They arrived today in a box with a "perishable" sticker on them. Yup, don't want to kill the worms!

I open the box to find the worms contained in a draw string bag. It doesn't look like there are a lot of worms in the bag, the the box also contained a letter that explained worms lose a lot of weight while being shipped and will be back to their "old selves" within a few days.

I took off the lid to the composting tower I had set up last week and gently placed the worms inside. Then, of course, I had to play with them a bit. When I held the ball of worms, it felt like when you go to the beach and hold a live sand dollar; you can feel the tiny movements of the worms like the feet on the sand dollar, but you can't actually see much.

The instructions said not to try to scatter the worms; they'll find their way on their own. I tucked them under the newspaper bedding and welcomed them home. Man I am a nerd...but a happy nerd :)

To another corner of the tower, I added the food scraps I've been saving for the past couple of days. My booklet said that the biggest mistake is to feed the worms too much, and that is a tendency I have anyway with people guests, I wonder if I did that with my new worm friends. We'll see.This system is not supposed to stink; if you have bad smells it means something is wrong...stay tuned!

The last thing I did was add another empty tray on top of the "working" tray and fill that with dry shredded paper. This was one tip I read to discourage fruit flies from leaving the compost and then dying. Fingers crossed!
All set! I'm officially composting in the city!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Composting in the City: Vermiculture

As someone with a green thumb and a strong love of fresh and local vegetables, I have enjoyed my time spent on various gardening projects. How to take it up a notch? Compost!

I have been eyeing this worm tower for years, but as a student and then a world traveler for a year, it wasn't the right time to commit to raising a worm family. Now, the time has come!

The tower is a pretty cool system to compost your food scraps and other biodegradable stuff (hair, junk mail, tea bags, etc) without having to do much work. You start with one tray, fill it with the bedding that the instructions recommend and then once your worms arrive, start feeding the house scraps to them. When the tray is full, you add another tray on top of the old one and the worms crawl up towards the new food. You continue adding new trays occasionally until you've run out (I got five) and by that time, the bottom tray should be filled only with compost. You simply empty that tray onto your garden or your potted plants, refill with new bedding and add to the top of the stack. Voila!

My worm tower arrived and I quickly assembled the few loose pieces; the bottom tray to the base and the nozzle and then sat down to read the instructions for setting up the worm bedding. Since I just got the email that my worms have shipped (E.T.A. Friday), it is time to roll out the welcome mat!

First step was to line the bottom tray with newspaper so the silly worms don't fall out the bottom.

On top of the newspaper, I sprinkled coir that I had rehydrated in water and then squeezed out to leave it damp. 

Worms love egg shells and leaves, so I added those too and then mixed the bedding all together. I may have been trying to remember the lines in Macbeth; Double, double toil and trouble; Fire burn, and caldron bubble.

On top of this layer of bedding, I added shredded newspaper, covered this with a few more pages of damp newspaper and put the lid on top.

I am excited to start composting and to live in better alignment with my earth friendly values!

I went to three stores after work today in search of an "official" composting bucket...but alas, January in DC is not the best time to find this treasure. Too bad. For now, I'll use a pot!

So far I've collected coffee grounds, onion skins, pepper seeds and a tea bag. Hope my worms are ready for a feast!

As a side note, my roommate Jesse Reilly spent two years on rural South Africa volunteering for the peace corps. One of his projects was making a worm farm! Check out his blog :)
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