Rooting for You

HI EVERYONE!!!!! Spring is almost here!!!!!!!!!

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Don’t let last week’s snow fool you. Or this week’s forecasted snow fool you either.

 

SPRING IS ALMOST HERE I PROMISE!

And you know what that means…….? Gardening Season!

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I’m so excited!!! Can you tell?

I’ve been getting antsy for Spring, but since it’s too early in the year for starts, I harvested the “humus” from my worm farm instead.

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Can I tell you how wonderful it smells? Just like the earth after a rain storm. Aaahhh.

The worm-humus goes into the soil for my house plants, and I guess I’ll let you know how the plants fare in a few weeks.

If you are interested in vermicomposting (composting with worms), then keep reading! Everything you need to know and/or purchase can be found at the website posted below.

Uncle Jim’s Worm Farm

They have compost bins, worms, organic fertilizer, seeds, etc., etc., etc.

I purchased my worms from Uncle Jim’s Worm Farm in the dead of January last year. I ordered the smallest amount, which was 100, but you can order up to 10,000 if you want. For an apartment compost bin, 100 was enough. And the worms arrived alive! I was impressed.

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Rather than buy a compost bin, I decided to save a bit of money and make one out of stuff I had at home. It was so easy!

Stuff I Used:

  • Two 23″x  16″ x 15″ bins

(It doesn’t really matter what size bin you use, but keep in mind that you need space for food scraps)

  • A drill with a 5/16″ drill bit

(Any size will work, but you want the holes you drill to be smaller than the worms. Or smaller than the diameter of a pencil)

  • Newspaper Scraps
  • Dirt
  • Paper
  • Marker
  • Tape

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The first bin, I left untouched. Honestly, I don’t know if that bin is needed. I liked the idea of stacking one bin inside the other in case the inside bin cracked or something.  For the second bin, I drilled holes in the lid and along the sides near the top for air flow.

I then tore newspaper in to strips, dipped them in water, and placed them criss-cross on the bottom of the bin. On top of the scraps, I place a bit of moistened potting soil for the worms to burrow into. Note: You don’t want the newspapers and soil to be too saturated. It should feel like a wrung out sponge.

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There is a set of instructions that come with the worms, and honestly, I don’t remember what those instructions were. But I placed the worms on top of the garden soil and within a few hours they had burrowed into the soil.

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With the paper and marker, I wrote a list of what could go into the compost bin and what couldn’t, and taped it to the lid.

Yes:

Fruit and Veggie Scraps

Tea Bags

Coffee Grounds

Egg Shells

Shredded Paper

Shredded Cardboard: egg cartons, paper towel rolls, etc.

No:

Dairy Product

Meat

Breads

Citrus

Garlic and Onion

Processed or Cooked Food

Fats and Oils

Glossy or Colored Paper

I tossed in food scraps that I had been saving for a couple of days, and voila! Project Complete.

For the first week, the compost bin took a bit of adjusting. I came home one day to my apartment reeking like a garbage bin. It was horrible! I immediately threw open all the windows. In the dead of winter. Smelly and cold….

Luckily, I didn’t have a roommate at the time, who surely would have hated me!

I opened the bin, nose covered, and noticed there was a lot of moisture in the bin. It didn’t look right so I added dry shredded paper for absorption. I didn’t take long before the smell was gone. But the next day I came home to the same thing!

“My landlords are gonna kill me,” I thought.

Maybe there just wasn’t enough airflow? I drilled a few more holes into the lid, opened the windows again, took a drive for a few hours, and came back to a fresh smelling apartment.

The compost bin has NEVER smelled bad since.

If you’re doing things right, the bin should smell clean and earthy. (Aaaahh). You want a decent amount of moisture in the bin. However, if there is too much moisture with no air flow, just beware that house-mates might want to kill you. Your compost bin should NEVER smell like a trash bin. If it does, something is wrong.  

But don’t fret too much. Making adjustments was super simple. If I can figure it out, any one can.

So that’s that. I throw in my food scraps and the worms eat it. I’m not sure how long it’s “supposed” to take for food to break down, but after a year with the worms, I have a 5 gallon Lowe’s bucket full of earthy black gold!

-Erica

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