I Got Worms
One of the fabulous gifts that I received for Christmas was a bag of worms. Red Wigglers to be exact. Funny enough, I asked for them. And who better to receive them from than my three year old son. I think he may have been more excited than I was to have gotten them. Why, might you ask, did I want worms? Well, as a matter of fact, I love to compost and worms help break down organic matter. I composted everything I could back in Arizona, but once I moved out here I realized that I don't have a permanent setting for a compost bin outside (we are currently renting). And, I didn't want to have to compost when there was snow on the ground (or on/in my outdoor compost bin). So, of course, I took to Google to find out what my options were for indoor composting. I found a process called vermicomposting or vermiculture. By using a large plastic storage bin, worms, and organic matter, I have started producing a nutrient rich compost that is perfect for my future garden, flower beds, or even my lawn. The link above has plans for building a vermicomposting bin, but it also sells ready-made bins. For me, I just used a 30 gallon plastic bin with a layer of peat moss on the bottom. I emptied my bag-o-worms onto the peat moss and began to add my saved organics (I have a small compost bucket that I keep on the counter so that I can easily throw all my organics into while I cook). Once I have a layer of left over fruits, vegetables, nut shells, egg shells, coffee grounds, and tea bags (rip off the metal staple if there is one), I then add a layer of brown matter such as dead grass, dried leaves, or hay. I will continue this for about six months. After that time I will remove any of the castings (or worm poop, or nutrient rich compost) and either save it for future use, or add it to flowers, the lawn, and/or garden. I keep my compost bin in the basement where it is nice and cool and I check on the worms every week to make sure that they are still moving and happy (I am still new to vermiculture and am not really sure about the ways of the worms yet).
My primary reason for composting is because I just can't see beautiful organic matter being tossed into the trash so that I will end up in a toxic landfill. On top of that, it teaches my children how to take care of our earth. At the end of the day, I will be leaving this beautiful planet to them. I need to know that they understand what they can do to help protect it and themselves. My kids love checking on the worms with me. Liam especially loves holding them and watching them work their wormy magic. Scarlett, not so much. But, they are both beginning to understand why we compost and what it does for plants and humans alike. Once we have a space to garden, they will be able to see first hand what this compost will do for our food.
A couple of tips for new composters: 1) Keep the organic pieces small. Cut them up so that they are easier to break down. I cut mine into about 1 inch pieces. 2) That juice that you see in your compost bin is good stuff (it's called compost tea)! Feed it to your house plants or any other plant that needs a nutrient boost. 3) Your compost needs to stay moist, but NOT wet. If it's too wet it won't break down properly and it can begin to rot, and not in a good way. You may need to add some water every now and then. However, if it's too dry, it won't do anything at all. 4) Regular composting is different than what is explained above. Check this out if you are interested in a regular composting system. And if you are, check your city's website to see if they offer a FREE compost bin. When I lived in Arizona, The City of Gilbert dropped one off at my house at no charge. All I had to do was request one.
That is all for this week. If you are interested in seeing my weekly photo project check it out. This week I did a still life. I only posted one photo this week because of the rough time I am having with the kiddos. I will talk about what I am doing to get them to cooperate with me more in the next post. And I am sorry to those who were looking forward to a photo of the children. It just wasn't happening this week.