cookies and cream ice cream?
And here's what it really is:
|Your thinking "I still don't know what it is..."|
You may think it's dirt, but in actuality it is worm castings. In other words, worm poop. And if you think about it, all dirt has been worm poop at point in time....
Why in the world am I telling you about worm poop? Well, it's great stuff! Natural fertilizer that you can make from your kitchen scraps. Completely safe, effective, and FREE!
Vermicomposting (composting with worms) is easy, low maintenance, and a great alternative to traditional composting. It takes up little space, so it is perfect for those in apartments.
For a more in-depth tutorial check this out. I promise you it's easy.
|Plastic bin with ventilation holes drilled in. I got mine for free from the Post Thrift Shop because the lid and base didn't match. Size can vary.|
|Spray bottle with water. Mine is an old Salad Spritzer bottle (Reuse!).|
|Newspaper and scissors (or paper shredder if you have one).|
|Worms! Cute little assistant is optional ;)|
Alright, raise your hand if you are grossed out now. Sigh. It's not gross at all, and I guarantee kids will love it.
All you do is cut up the paper into thin strips, toss it into the bin and spritz it with water until damp. Fluff it up a bit, and Voila! a lovely home for some worms. Then put in your kitchen scraps to compost, then worms do the rest! It will take a few weeks to achieve the final results, but this is what it looks like:
|There may be a few bits of undigested food scraps, but that is fine, it will help fertilize as well.|
|Separate the worms from their poo and store it in a plastic or glass container in a dark place. Use just like any other fertilizer.|
Tips and tricks:
- Use only black and white news paper, color ink may not be worm friendly.
- Don't use any old worms. Go to a bait shop and ask for "Red Wigglers". They may also go by the name of "Troutworm" or "Pooworm". If you tell the the bait shop clerk what you are looking for they should know exactly what you need. You shouldn't have to spend over $5.
- Don't add meat, bones, dairy, or oils to your bin. Stick with veggie scraps, apple cores, egg shells, etc. Chop up the scraps a bit to help the worms eat it faster.
- Keep the bin in a place where it won't be exposed to extreme hots or colds and check the paper every week or so to make sure it's not too dry, not soaking wet.
- "Doesn't it smell like rotting food?" - No, not at all! The only smell that is present, even from the worm castings themselves, is an earthy, mild dirt smell, no different than a bag of soil.
- "Won't the worms escape through the ventilation holes?" - Not unless their environment is too dry/wet. I've never had any worm make a run for it, they are happy in a safe, dark place with ample amounts of food.
- "How many worms do I need?" - Well, that depends. If you are wanting to turn out a large supply of vermicomposting you may want to have a larger bin with a lot of worms. However, keep in mind that worms are eager to multiply so if you only buy a little to start out with that is fine. I just bought one package and my population has easily tripled in year.
- "Why should I do this? I don't garden." Even if you don't have a green thumb, composting is a great way to reduce the amount of garbage you throw out each week. Transforming old food into usuable compost is a great way to reduce your carbon footprint and better our environment. Plus, natural fertilizer is expensive, so if you have any gardener friends they may be willing to barter for your poop! ;)
If you want more info feel free to ask me, or just do a web search for vermicomposting, there is tons of info out there!
Until next time,