One of the great things about my husband being a locksmith is that he gets to drive around, see places and meet different people. He is friendly and curious enough to let nothing get away from him. And this man notices everything. He finds all kinds of things at abundant homes he is going to rekey. Most of the times, the owner of the home is happy to give it to him since it means less cleaning for them. Like this truck box we now use as a garden shed, cleaning products, furnitures, kids toys, and many other things.
A few weeks ago, he found an old worm composting bin behind a house he was working on, and the owner was more than happy for him to take it.
I’ve wanted worms for a while now. Their castings are such a great addition to garden soil, and if you keep the bin indoors where it’s warm, they will keep making compost (aka poop) for you during the Winter. If you follow my blog, you know that we are working on starting a small organic farm so I can use all the compost I can get. Worm poop, chicken poop, horse poop, thank God animals don’t ever stop pooping 😉
Let’s back up here for a second in case you are not sure what the hell am I talking about and thinking last week she was excited about using an outhouse and this week she is messing with worm poop, what in the world is wrong with this lady!
You can make amazing compost at home by using worms, red wigglers, they are called, and you can find them here. Those worms can eat their their body weight in food scraps daily, and, like all of us, when we eat a lot we poop a lot. This worm poop is called “worm casting” and it is glorious. I mean glorious! It is rich and full of nutrients, an all natural plant fertilizer. After you harvest the castings from the bin, you can mix them with your garden soil or make worm casting tea and water your plants with it. It will make your plants extremely happy.
Anyway, this is what was in the bin when my husband brought it home. Red worms used to live here but were now dead, probably because they were left outside in freezing temperatures. Red worms don’t like it too cold or too hot. The ideal temperature is between 55-77 degrees, so you can leave the bin outdoors in the shade in the summer, but you should bring it indoors in the winter.
However, in between the dry castings, there was this piece of a paper bag full of worm eggs, and I was wondering what if… What if I could help them hatch, and keep them warm, and feed them, and sing to them, and pat them, and have conversations with them… And we will have a worm nursery, full of babies (I love babies)… And they will eat and poop, and I will clean their poop (I already clean so much poop anyway, what’s a bit more). Then I’ll spread it in my farm and my vegetables will be so beautiful and tasty and full of nutrients, and we (including the worms) will eat them, and feed others and be healthy and live happily ever after! Ahh, what if…
So I added some wet newspaper to the bin, making sure to wet the paper with the eggs (worms like moisture, but it shouldn’t be too wet inside there),closed it and placed it indoors. I didn’t remove the old castings because I didn’t know if there were eggs anywhere else, and if there were I didn’t want to ruin them. You can buy a fancy worm bin online, but you can see that it’s not necessary. You can make one from a $5 dark bin (worms are sensitive to light) by drilling tiny holes along the top edge, the lid, and the bottom. Then place another lid on the surface to catch any liquid that might drip from the worm bin, and elevate the worm bin on top of it by using bricks or some sort of container.
Then I waited. Two weeks I waited…
I added some more water, making sure there is enough moisture in the bin, and closed it again.
I waited another week and then decided it was time to clean the bin and check how many worms I have.
In two or three month, I will need to do this again and harvest some more castings.
So if you want to make compost with worms, get yourself a box of red wigglers. Make a dark composting bin, add soil, wet newspaper, and food scraps, and the worms. Make sure you place the bin in a spot that is not too hot or too cold. Feed the worms paper and food scraps like vegetables, fruit, bread, coffee grounds, egg shells, tea bags and so on, but not dairy or meat or cat litter. Just so you know, fruit flies are a pain in the back side when it comes to worm composting, if you don’t take certain steps to get rid of them you will find yourself in a cloud of the little nasty flies every time you open the bin. Here is a great post about how to get rid of the fruit flies. Make sure to keep the bin moist but not wet, you can do that by adding wet paper. Every 2 to 3 month, harvest the castings. If your worm population is getting too large, you will have to make a new bin and divide them or give or sell some of the worms. Use the castings in your vegetable garden, this stuff is very concentrated, so a little bit goes a long way. You will be amazed at the change in your plants.
We can change the world! One worm compost bin at a time 😉
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