Saturday, July 30, 2011

Worm Composting!!!

So this weekends project was simple and took less then a hour but hopefully will provide lots of wonderful compost over the years!

A wonderful worm bin! It seems funny that one would welcome worms into their home but we did that gladly!

Here is what you need to build your own!

Supplies:

~Power drill or a sharp nail and a hammer
~Rectangular plastic storage bin with a lid, any size
~Newspaper and cardboard
~2 cups ordinary soil, any type
~Red worms (Lubricous rubellas) or compost worms (Eugenia fetid)

Instructions:
Using the drill or the sharp nail and a hammer (the latter is much more difficult — use a drill if you can), create two rows of ventilation holes around the top edge of the bin, starting beneath the lid. Space the holes about 3 or 4 inches apart. The exact size of the holes doesn’t matter much, but they should be 1/4 inch or less in diameter. To make sure the bin doesn’t leak and can be kept anywhere, don’t put any holes in the bottom of the container. Lack of bottom drainage means you’ll have to be vigilant to make sure the contents don’t get too soggy, because there’s nowhere for water to go.
Shred newspaper into fine strips. Use plain newspaper, not shiny inserts, which may contain harmful dyes, and not office paper, which has been bleached. Rip the paper into strips. While you’re at it, rip up some plain corrugated cardboard, too, if you have it. It must be bare cardboard, not paper coated, because again, that paper may contain bleaches or inks. It’s easier to rip up cardboard that has been soaked in water first. Worms really like corrugated cardboard — they snuggle up in the channels, so tear it into worm-size chunks roughly 4 inches square.
Wet the newspaper strips by placing them in a bowl or bucket and drizzling water over them and stirring until they’re all equally damp. Add the shreds to the worm bin by the handful, squeezing them first to make sure they’re damp, not sodden. The ideal consistency is that of a wrung-out sponge. You don’t ever want to have standing water in the worm bin.

After you’ve added about 4 to 6 inches of newspaper to the bin, add the cardboard pieces and about 2 cups of soil. The soil adds grit to the mix, which helps with the worm’s digestion. Toss it all together to mix it. Add the worms. Put a little paper over them right away, because they don’t like the light.


Possible Worm Problems:
Worms Dying?
~ It may be that they are not getting enough food, which means you should bury more food into the bedding.
~ They may be too dry, in which case you should moisten the box until it is slightly damp.
~ They may be too wet, in which case you should add bedding.
~ The worms may be too hot, in which case you should put the bin in the shade.
~ The bedding is eaten, and it is time to add fresh bedding.
Bin Smells?
~ First, it may be that there is not enough air circulation. In this case, add dry bedding under and over the worms, and do not feed them for two weeks.
~ Second, there may be non-compostables in the bin DO NOT feed your worms meat, dairy, grains (bread, ceral, etc), greasy, or processed foods
~ Third, there may be exposed food in the bin. Make sure you bury all food under the bedding!

Harvest Time!!
Keep a watch on your bin! You'll start to notice (hopefully) that the bedding and food scrapes are disappearing! YAY! Once most of the bedding and food is devoured you can start harvesting your worm gold!
Move your finished compost to one side of the bin, place new bedding and some food scrapes in the newly empty side, close and leave for a few days, most of the worms will have migrated to the new bedding side allowing you to scoop up your new fertilizer! Make sure to keep a watch for lagger worms so you can pick those out and put them back into your box!

Making Worm Tea:


What You Need:
~ 2 cups of finished worm compost
~ A 5 gallon Bucket
~ Old Pantyhose
~ Rain Water (or Tap)
~ 1 Tablespoon Molasses
~ Bubbler (the kind they use to keep bait alive in the bucket)

What to do?
~ Fill bucket 3/4 with rain water (or tap)
~ If your use tap water let your water stand overnight if using rain water proceed
~ Add your 2 cups of worm compost into old pantyhose foot, tie off at the top
~ Add bag of compost to your bucket
~ Add molasses
~ Turn on your water bubbler and let bubble for 24 hours
~ Your done now go give your plants a treat!

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