Worm composting

Worm composting for great nutrients

Well, I am worm composting now.  Took a class at Sky Nursery and learned how wonderful worm composting can be.  The castings (poo) are great for the garden as they have live microorganisms that help plants thrive.  They are especially good for plants in containers, especially inside plants.  The reality is that you dont get a huge amount of worm castings from this process so you want to use the compost where it will be best suited.  Despite the small amount it is potent with nutrients which is why it works well in containers where you may not have a lot of space on top to put other types of compost.

Worm composting process

The course I took was pretty short, about an hour.  But it was good for me to actually see what the compost and worms should look like.  I got an idea of how big the cardboard and paper should be torn into… which is not as small as you might think.  See the picture above for my paper cutting skills!  You wet the paper down a tad and add some food scraps into a bin with holes poked i it.  In the perfect world you would let it sit for a week before you add your worms.  I was too excited to start so I bought my worms at Sky nursery… they picked the worms out by hand to make sure I got the full number.  There are also mature worms that are are carrying eggs which are the ones you want.  Although the life cycle of the worm matures pretty quickly.   She had a worm bin that was almost finished and it was cool to see all the worms in there wiggling around.

A word of wisdom about worm composting

This is an update a year later:  Be prepared for the fact that you wont be “growing” just worms.  You may get all sorts of different creepy crawly little guys and gals in there.  Some of which may gross you out.  Some are fruit flies that all fly out the second you open the lid and you get a swarm of them in your face.   Some are quick earwigs and some can be slow slugs and snails.  Some I frankly couldn’t even identify!  If you are the type who cant stand getting dirty or seeing the creepy crawly’s of life… this is many not for you.  Its far more up front and in your face than larger scaled out door composting strategies.

That being said, the compost really is the BEST stuff in the world.  Harvesting it was not particularly easy… not physically hard but I kept seeing nice good fat worms I wanted to keep in my compost bin that I didn’t want to send out into the world (because these worms are not meant for the open soils… they may live for a while but wont over winter even in our milder PNW winters).  But I used the hilling method on a table in the sun.  Essentially you pile up the compost in a hill and slowly draw off the compost from the outside and put it in a bucket.  The worms move away from the light so they would head inward.  Eventually though you get to a point where your worm to compost ration makes it hard to not get some worms in the bucket.  And again, you dont get a lot.  But I used it for vegetable seedling transplants (not to raise seeds but the second potting up before going outside) and they loved it!

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