Hey, everyone! It’s Ashley again As you may know, we are working on our first garden this year. Which, so far, has really been going swimmingly. One of my favorite and most looked forward to parts of visiting our community garden plot is the thought of who might be there and what we can learn from them. Our fellow gardeners have been so extremely helpful!
Our gardening neighbors are some of the friendliest and most knowledgeable people. I credit much of our success to the tips we’ve received from each gardener. All three of us were lucky enough to be there (sweatin’ our butts off!) for the latest lesson: worm poop!
Worm compost (or vermicompost) is one of the best gifts you could give your growing fruits and veggies. I’ll tell you why.
You know when you go to the store and try to find the best soil you can get and it ends up being super pricey? Me too. I am guilty of purchasing a few bags myself. Little did I know that you can make your own for almost nothing! AND it’s helping the planet! Worm compost is a great way to create your own soil, whether you use it alone or in combination with other types. The resulting compost is nutrient rich in nitrogen and phosphates, which both help to promote overall plant and root growth. Plus, you know the composted soil you are adding to your garden is organic, so there is no worry on pesticides or added chemicals.
The number one thing you need to start a worm compost (aside from the bin) would be some worms. Our gardening friend David said that you want the Red Worms, or Red Wigglers, and they are different from the regular earthworms. These can digest more of the organic waste you will be putting into your compost bin, which means more compost soil to use for your garden. We asked him where would be the easiest place to get them, and can you believe you can pick them up at a regular bait shop? Come to think of it, when I went fishing in high school, it was the Red Wigglers that I used most often as bait. You don’t need too many, just about a handful to start, as they can multiply quickly.
You see that band around the worm there? According to our spontaneous lesson, that band indicates that the worm is ready to reproduce. Which is a great thing for your bin! If you have a healthy compost bin, your worms should be reproducing regularly, and breaking down the organic waste on a pretty constant schedule.
Blurry pic, but even Bubba got into inspecting the worms!
Ready to start your own? All you need is a large tub, like the Rubbermaid type one in the picture ( I didn’t actually check, it could very well be an actual Rubbermaid container ). Poke some breathing holes along the sides, towards the top portion of the bin. Make sure they are big enough to let air circulate through, but small enough to where your worms won’t get out. They likely won’t want to anyway, once you start filling your bin.
Place a very damp newspaper in the bottom of the bin with some broken egg shells and some organic waste, like plant clippings, or excess fruits or veggies. Make sure you don’t put too much, or your bin will start to rot and smell pretty icky. After a few days to a week, check on your bin. You should see some brand new composted soil, and you can add more organic waste to feed your new little friends. Use your best judgement to determine how often to feed the little guys. Check every couple of days, and if they are breaking things down enough, drop a few more things in.
If, when you open the lid to the compost bin, they immediately try to escape out the top, double-check that you haven’t added anything toxic to the mix. Or maybe there is too much food, or even some items (like grapes and zucchini) just need to be cut up or opened first.
The great thing about the worm compost is that it is pretty continuous. You can keep a steady flow going, and mix it into your regular soil, or even try using just the compost! Be sure to keep the bin in a shady and cool location, as they don’t like to work very hard in the heat. I don’t blame them!
I am incredibly grateful for our little gardening lessons, and can’t wait to start our own! I have some clippings going, but we haven’t picked up the worms just yet.
Some juicy shared strawberries after our worm lesson!
What do you use in your garden? Do you use worms to compost?
A huge thanks again to Kelly, for letting me share with your readers! Happy gardening!
THANK YOU, Ashley! And that is why I love to have other contributors and blog friends adding to the blog…for awesome info like that, I had NO IDEA!! We are in a townhome with no space for a garden, except for in containers, I’m a bit jealous of Ashley’s awesome garden!! :-) Be sure to stop over and say Hi to Ashley and check out all the other awesome info on her blog! Blessings~Kelly