Sunday, 6 January 2013

Going green: Composting with worms

Some time ago I already had a few rants about the benefits of using worm compost. It is a bit odd really, that so little people use it.
It would be a bit over the top, but did you know what a wormbin 2 by 3 foot would compost all the human waste a 4 people household produces.

Worm compost or vermicompost is the perfect fertilizer with loads of extras. Worms eat garbage, or bio-waste from anything green, or that used to be green. The best worms for the job are not the normal ones, but you should get manure worms or Eisenia Fetida. They eat manure, preferably horse manure, but anything else rotting will do as well. All our kitchen waste is fed to worms, red wriggler worms or compost worms or simply redworms, and they love it, even coffee grounds, tea bags, cardboard, grass clippings or flowers they love.

And you know what? A worm bin smells like the forest, I love it !

It is faster than the normal compost bin, even faster than a tumbler composter and gives less to no greenhouse gases such as Methane. Both can be combined, if you just add some worms to the bin, or tumbler. You can find the right worms at shops that sell worm bins, or you can find them in old manure.
left plants in home-made root riot cube with worm compost- right in normal potting soil

Worm compost makes the soil rich with micro-organisms; adding enzymes such as phosphatase and cellulose. The microbial activity in worm castings is 10 to 20 times higher than in the soil and bio-waste the worm ingests.
For your plants it enhances germination excels plant growth and crop yield, improves root growth and structure. The micro-organisms are adding plant hormones such as auxins and gibberellic acid to your potting soil, and the best part, aphids and bugs hate the smell of plants grown in soil with 5-10% worm compost added.

Wormcompost is 100% free of pathogens it is even tested and proven that worms can clean a layer of sewage waste in a matter of 7 days. . .
Now don't think you will catch me defecating on a bucket now.
Then again, some time ago I had the chance to visit a friend in Finland, now that was a vacation ! I have seen soo much on the travel, it was an eyeopener really. In Finland we were invited to stay over a couple of days at my friends summer house. Now I didn't know what to expect, but this summer house is where they have their vacations or weekends fishing, boating and camping out. But let me tell you this really was a house where I would love to live, close to the sea, but odd enough now without electricity or sewer.
The first part I loved, seeing all the oil lamps, but he second part did worry me a bit. I have never seen an out house, let alone did a big one on it. I can't remember playing with poo, so not knowing what to expect I got a great explanation.
If you add some grass and a handful sawdust every time, the ammonia is neutralized by the silicic acid in the grass and the sawdust takes up the moisture. And really that is all to not make it stink. After the bucket is full, leave it for a week and feed it to the worms.
Feed it to the worms was to bury it slightly in a composting spot, spreading it and covering it just a bit. The worms eat it in a matter of days, and after they are done it is the cleanest compost you will ever see.

Sorry, I got carried away a bit. Now I will have to do condense writing. . . .

What you need is 2 stackable plastic tubs 30x45 Cm (1 by 1 1/2 feet), 3 small bricks, half a kg ( 1 pound ) some dried eggshells and about 5 litre ( a gallon ) of fresh compost.

Make 25 mm holes ( 1 Inch ) in the bottom of one bin, and cover with a thin polyester filter cloth. This will see to ventilation from the bottom up. Put the 3 small brick in the bottom of the other, to keep the second one up a bit.

Cover the filter cloth with the compost

put in the worms

add a little ground egg shells

Leave em for 14 days, before you start adding more compostable greens. Now worms don't like: Citrus, onion unless boiled a bit. The wife will not like cabbage off any kind, as that will make the bin smell like mad.
Worms need egg shell every 14 days, they use it in their crops to grind their food, So if the bin slows down, add a teaspoon of crushed or ground dried egg shell.

Take a look at times if the bottom bin is filled with moisture, you can use it as a fertilizer too. The bin should neither be soaking wet, nor to dry, just moist. Give it a try, you will love it, reduce your green wast by 90%, and your plants will love it !!

Yours sincerely,

Bart J. Meijer