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Monday, July 2, 2012

Composting Worm Bin

In December 2011, I decided to purchase some "Red Wigglers" for an inside composting bin. I secured a large plastic storage container that we weren't using anymore. I cleaned it out and drilled 3/8 inch holes every 3 inches or so at the top in two rows.
I ordered the worms online through Amazon and they came in a canvas pouch with castings and some egg cocoons. I got the bin ready by wetting newspaper (a bunch) in the sink and wringing out the excess and then tearing it into strips. We also had several boxes leftover from moving laying around, so I wet them and tore them into small pieces until I filled the bin about 2/3 full.  I got two cups of soil out of the greenhouse (you could use any) and scattered it on top.  The soil has grit or sand in it to aid the worms in digesting their food.  I had been saving food scraps (no meat, oils, or citrus) for some time and had a full container already in the rotting stage. The worms will eat basically what the dogs won't eat plus any paper like: coffee filters, paper plates, napkins etc.I dumped it out on one side of the bin and covered it up with the damp shredded newspaper. I added the worms and put the lid on. At first, the bin was a little stinky from the rotten food scraps, but after a few weeks, it changed to an earthy, soilly smell.  Our bin is located in our mud room, so it was out of the way and didn't stink up the house, plus close to the kitchen. It was very rewarding to see and smell the progress the worms were making after several weeks. I checked to make sure that water was not accumulating on the bottom of the bin and it was not.  The newspaper and cardboard was also staying adequately damp. Somehow I got it right the first time :) (it's pretty easy)  On the last day of  December, I emptied another full food scraps container into the bin.  I dumped it on the other side and covered it with some paper from packaging from Christmas gifts.  I can't wait to harvest castings to use in the garden or wherever. I'm also looking forward to starting new bins once the worms have multiplied to the max.  I'm thinking about starting mom a smaller bin or anyone who might appreciate turning good scraps that would normally go into landfill or down the garbage disposal into rich, organic FREE fertilizer for plants.
~Fast forward to July 2012 and here is the best thing about this simple project. I completely forgot all about the bin for several months! When I went to open it, I really expected to see a nasty mess with dead bugs and worms, and maggots. But, what I saw was a container 1/3 full of castings! Those worms turned all that paper, cardboard, and kitchen straps into the best looking, best smelling stuff I have ever seen!
This project is: simple, works, kid friendly, and is totally procrastinator proof!!!  The pic below is a new addition of paper and food scraps and my son is pointing to the worms wriggling all over the place.  (They don't like light) You can use their hatred of light to your advantage by getting them to move away from it and into another container so you can harvest the castings. I am going to try that soon. I am also going to harvest some worms for the aquaponics system.

Thanks and God Bless!!!!

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