Happy Earth Day and Creating Worm Compost

I love eating out of my own garden! I grow more and more food every year, it’s just so great to collect dinner from my yard instead of running to the store. Plus I know that it’s super-fresh and nutritious (every minute something is out of the ground, it loses nutrition. Stand in the garden and eat is my motto) and also pesticide-free.

Today, we emptied the worm bins into our greenhouse and I planted a little cold-weather stuff in there. It’s still too early to risk putting things in the ground outdoors, although it was over 80°F, and we have some over-wintered kale and spinach out there.
I have worm bins for the kitchen waste. I thought that the worms might die over the winter, but they survived. Several years ago I bought 2 large plastic storage containers. One went on the bottom to catch the run off, then I drilled lots of holes in the other. I filled it with wet strips of newsprint and a little dirt and bought a pound of worms from The Wonder Worman. I bury our kitchen waste in the bin and also dump shredded paper on top. With time, it turns into compost. When it got so that the worms had eaten most of the paper, I bought another plastic bin and drilled holes in it and put it on top of the other two (with the lid only on the top one) with wet paper, etc. Then kitchen scraps go only into the top bin. The worms mostly crawled up into it.

Then we bought a second tier of bins, since we had so much kitchen waste and so many worms. Last fall, my partner, who is quite the handy-man, built a structure for the whole thing, so we could get it off of the ground, where it was making a bit of a mess. The tap on the bottom lets us drain off the worm tea, which is a rich fertilizer too.

Our worm system

Our worm system

We emptied the bottom ones today and put the compost out in the greenhouse. Then the top ones went underneath to finish composting and the old bottom ones went on top. It’s a great system (before we added the third bin on top, I used to try to sort worms from compost and that was a pain, believe me. This top bin system worked great. I love it!). I put almost everything in  except avocado pits and skins, mango pits, and anything really hard like broccoli stems gets cut up first. Also, there are certain house plants that the worms just won’t eat. I had read that one should keep onions out, but our worms love them. The biggest thing is to keep the waste covered – you have to bury it or the worms won’t eat it and it will draw flies.

I think that eating local is super-important, and how better to eat local than to make your own compost and grow your own food!

It’s Sunday and time for the ROW80 check-in here.

 

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  1. #1 by KM Huber on April 25, 2012 - 7:23 pm

    Impressive, Ann, and interesting as well. As an apartment dweller, I can no longer indulge in gardening nor could I have the worm “farms” but I am tempted. Great post.
    Karen

    • #2 by annstanleywriting on April 25, 2012 - 10:53 pm

      There is something to be said for apartment living, Karen. A yard can take up an awful lot of time and energy. Luckily for me, my partner loves taking care of ours and all I do is the veggie garden. I read years ago about building a window box where the worms can live in the house, but, after having them, I think that would be stupid as they smell sometimes and they draw bugs.

  2. #3 by Stephanie Saye on April 22, 2012 - 7:31 pm

    Ann, you are my hero! Over the years my husband and I have become students of organic gardening. While we haven’t started planting veggies yet, I would like to try it out in the near future – but that would also mean converting one of our sunny beds that currently houses native Texas plants into a veggie patch. I do love the idea of worm composting, too. Been wanting to give that a try – plus they are teaching the kids about it in school so my oldest probably knows more about it than me! We’ve also discussed getting a rain barrel, too.

    • #4 by annstanleywriting on April 22, 2012 - 10:16 pm

      We don’t have a rain barrel, but we’ve talked about it, just like you have. I think bee hives would be great, too. I’m unfortunately allergic to eggs, or maybe I should say fortunately, since that rules out any thought of adding chickens for the dogs to torture.

      • #5 by Eden on April 23, 2012 - 7:36 pm

        Hi, Ann… While eating the eggs might not work for you, you could sell them, and their dropping are excellent fertilizer. Plus, chickens are good at keeping some parasitic insects down, such as ticks.

        But standing in a garden and eating… Oh, definitely! And plus, it tastes better too. Fresh sun-warmed tomatoes…. YUM!

      • #6 by annstanleywriting on April 23, 2012 - 8:51 pm

        All true. We don’t get a lot of sun-ripened tomatoes here (usually have to ripen them indoors after the first frost), but sugar peas, raspberries and strawberries can all be eaten right off of the plant.

      • #7 by Eden on April 24, 2012 - 5:15 am

        Yes, yes, they can! And fresh mulberries, blueberries… I went out the other day and snapped off a stalk of asparagus from the bed and munched away at it. It’s wonderful what we can do with our hands and some dirt when we put our minds to it. (With help from Mother Nature, of course…)

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