Wednesday, November 4, 2009

I've got worms

Yes, I really do have worms. They reside in a large plastic storage container and eat my coffee grounds, tea bags, vegetable scraps, and even some junk mail or used paper towels now and then. They spend much of their time in my living room, but sometimes I move them into my basement. They stay in the living room as long as I'm feeding them, but once the feed gets too far ahead of the worms, I move them into the basement and forget about them for a couple months.

I started my worm bin in February. Most of the worms were babies, and you could hardly see them. Now they're long and wavy, and to my surprise, I kind of enjoy handling them. Every now and then some will crawl up the side of the worm bin, and although I imagine they'd find their way home if I didn't help, I worry about them. So, I pick them up and put them back down on their bed of vermicompost (worm poop) and food scraps.

Yes, the worm bin is one of those plastic storage containers that you can get at discount stores, so it's not expensive to make it. You drill six or eight holes in the sides so the worms can get air, and you put another six or eight holes in the bottom so the bin can drain if you wind up with too much moisture.

A few people have asked if it stinks, and the answer is no. It even spent two weeks in a public library this spring in celebration of Earth Day and was a huge hit, especially among kids. The vermicompost itself has no smell, but if you were to put the wrong kind of scraps in there, they could attract fruit flies or start to stink because they'd be molding and decomposing before the worms could eat them. You should never put meat or bones in a worm bin. I've also heard that too much citrus can kill your worms, so I don't put citrus in there at all. I have a regular compost bin outside my kitchen door, and I throw my citrus in there. It's a good idea to bury fruit scraps and anything else that can attract fruit flies. Since I put my coffee grounds and filter in there every day, I generally just layer everything, so this morning's coffee grounds cover yesterday's vegetable scraps. The brown stuff in the above picture is vermicompost. Since it looks so much like coffee grounds, I feed my worms on one side of the bin for several months while I'm harvesting the vermicompost from the other side.

So, what do I do with the vermicompost? I'll talk about that tomorrow. I have to run now because we're working on getting the barn and the goats ready for winter.

This post is part of Frugal Fridays, where you can find more money-saving ideas.


Caprifool said...

Coolness! I use to have one under my kitchen counter. Worked great. And as you said, didn't stink at all.

dazed said...

I had a great time at soapmaking class and my head is still spinning with ideas! I started my composting last fall, but my biggest challenge is getting the scraps to the composter. ( I like to compost my dryer lint :)

I didn't do vermicomposting, but I find it intriguing. I got started at home after attending the green expo in Chicago in 2008... and seeing all the neat composters they had there for "in town" use. As a country girl, we just walked out and tossed our scraps over the fence into the hay field... and I miss that, living in town. I liked the book "Let it Rot" and am going to pass it on to my father-in-law this winter to see if I can get him to start a large composting pile on his farm. We currently use mushroom compost exclusively on all of our family's property, and now he purchases it "green" and has to turn it with the loader before use.

Okay, I am babbling. Can't wait to read more!

Deborah said...

dazed, LOL about your photo! Definitely not what I was expecting for a composting picture. Very cute though. Glad you enjoyed the class!


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