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Worm composting works by recycling food and yard waste which is then put to use for your house plants, herbs or garden to feed your plants. The worms eat the compost and turn it into food for your garden or farm. This is what your plants need to live healthy and bring you enjoyment.
We had moved to a small trailer park in Colorado. Our goal was to grow a garden and not only feed ourselves, but also share the expense and workload with two of our neighbors. Our problem is with the soil.
It is hard as a rock, full of weeds as well as gravel.
We found no worms in the very small sections of the lawn that we could get a shovel into. We have usually always had a garden of one type or the other, even if it was a small container garden. We also always had hardy small plants in our camper when we traveled around. So how to overcome the challenge of our newly acquired garden bed.
Our problem was two fold. First we do not have a usable yard for growing much as you can see. Secondly there is no place for worms to live to keep our garden area aerated and fertile with worm castings for food for the plants.
The great advantage of worm composting is that this can be done indoors and outdoors, which provides for year round composting. It can provide apartment dwellers with a means of composting. So to summarize, worm compost is made in a container filled with moistened bedding and redworms. Add your food waste for a period of time, and the worms and micro-organisms will eventually convert the entire contents into rich compost.
How many worms to you need for worm composting?
- First off, how much food waste to you have in a week?
- Weigh your household food waste for one week then provide one square foot of surface area per pound.
- The depth of your container is best if it is between eight and twelve inches deep.
- You can purchase plastic containers for worm composting, in either large size or a bunch of smaller ones that are stackable depending upon the area you have for composting.
We started off with only a couple of pounds of worms for our composting needs. Worms will multiply and grow in numbers. There are several books available for you to decide what you need. There is only two people in our family, so that is why we only purchased 2 pounds of worms to start. We produce about 1 pound of food waste per day during a week.
You also want to provide damp bedding such as straw or shredded uncolored newspaper, dead leaves from the fall, dead leaves from your plants, etc. Just make sure that it is not contaminated with any toxic substances. It is a great idea to add a bit of soil or sand to help the worms digestive system. Keep the compost moist, but do not drown your worms.
Since we are new to this area, we purchased our red wiggler worms through a local gardening supplier. Purchase locally is our motto, it saves time, money and provides for local abundance.
How do you maintain your compost worms and bins?
- It is best to keep the compost warm usually between 40 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit
- For indoors anywhere that is warm, moist and dry.
- For outdoors, in a shop, barn or shed that will keep that temperature range but also allow you to keep the compost moist.
Make sure that you separate the worms out of the finished compost and into the next batch of compost material so that they thrive, and do not die. My recommendation is to move the finished compost to the side of the container, place in new bedding and allow the worms to migrate on their own. That saves a lot of time. Use the completed compost by taking it off the top of the finished pile as needed.
Some people will lay all of their finished compost out on a plastic sheet and pick out the worms, this can be a great family event for you and your children on an afternoon. It teaches everyone involved how great of a planet that was created for us!
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Chris Downs ——————- The Caretaker