Sooo ready for Spring!! Are you??

We had a bit of a warm streak last week and everything perked up. But, now were back into the 20’s again. I’m excited about what this Spring is going to bring, but I am a tad bit nervous as this is the part of the year where “the petal hits the metal” again. Mowing acres of grass weeds, building projects, gardening, composting, NEW BABY! Haha…Yeah we have a lot on our plates this year! But I am still trying to remind myself that we are still LEARNING. Even though I desperately wish I could just instantly have all the knowledge I need to be able to do these things, I shall, like everyone else, continue to learn as I go.

I have however gotten started on one of my projects! Vermicomposting! It was on my goals for this year. For those who are not sure what this vermicomposting thing is…here’s the lowdown. I am basically creating an indoor composting system (you can do it outdoors, but its more challenging to get started). Instead of using time as my composting method, I am using worms! Alright, I know I just lost some of you…skip past the creepy crawlies if you must. For the rest of you…You basically make a little habitat for the woms to live in and you feed them your kitchen scraps. In return for your delicious leftovers, the worms will leave you with rich, nutrient dense worm poop compost for you to use as your heart desires in your gardens, flower beds, etc. It’s really probably the simplest thing to set up and doesn’t take a ton of time for a good amount of worms to create this compost. In addition, because the environment that these worms thrive in is moist, there will be a good bit of liquid that accumulates over time and this my friends, is known as (at least it is to me), the Holy Grail of plant feed- “Compost Tea.” Aka worm pee. Well, I am not really sure if worms pee, but theoretically, if dirt is worm poop, then the liquid is pee. See how sound my philosophy is??

There are lots more highly educated people who can probably explain this all better to you. I just thought I would give you the “Erica-fied” version of my understanding. Because that’s more fun to read. Ya know?

So, you might be wondering why I have any desire to have a colony of worms living in Rubbermaid containers in my laundry room, eh? Well. I had terrible luck this year with a traditional outdoor composting system. It was basically a pile of yard clippings, left over hay, and kitchen scraps. However, lots of nasty little creatures also enjoyed my pile. I had two major problems with my system. One, it took a long time for anything to break down and turn into soil before something came and “took over”. Herein lies my second problem, I had lots of…let’s just called them bugs so you don’t loose your lunch…take over. They made lots of babies in the soil that have been hibernating over the winter. So, if I were to use this soil in my garden, I would most likely be putting these BAD bug babies right into places where I am going to plant. We’re talking like tomato hornworm babies, cabbage lopers, cucumber beetles, etc. I ain’t like those in my garden. Now, to solve this problem, I COULD use my dreamy ducks or chickens to come nibble through the soil to eat all of these bug babies. That would be very handy. But alas, ducks are yet to get here. Boy they would have a feast though. Seriously, I’ve never seen so many creepies before. Ick!

Moving on…

So this concept of worm composting is attractive because it’s a little less prone to unwanted critters. Sure there are some other things that can get in there, but for the most part it’s a controlled environment. So, I am going to give it a whirl. Not to mention Lea is already smitten with the worms. She loves worms. Country kid.

So, here’s a couple of my worm set up pics. This is a highly unsophisticated system that cost me about $15 (including worms) total. There’s many other ways to do it…I just had these Rubbermaid’s already and used some shredded paper and Voila!

Photo Feb 27, 11 04 30 AM

Photo Feb 27, 11 04 44 AM

Photo Feb 26, 9 14 39 PM

If you want the details on how I constructed my bin, these are the instructions I used…

http://www.vermicompost.net/rubbermaid-worm-bin-plans/

I am also proud to say that I did it all myself. Not that I don’t love my husband helping, but there’s something that makes you feel powerful when you bust out a drill and chop saw. Ok…I’m alone again.

On a final note, I found my worms at a local bait shop. They are a tad different than I expected but after some research, I did reassure myself that they are the correct ones that I needed. So, I am happy about that! And I am sure I looked like a crazy person with my two kids, 9 month pregnant self, asking to buy a bunch of packages of red worms. Oh well.

Well, that’s that for now. I haven’t fed the little buddies yet, as I just got them nestled into their new home last night. Apparently I am supposed to wait a few days so they get themselves all nice and cozy before feeding them. I’ll let you know how it goes. 😉

In other news…

Here’s the latest look at my wheat growing! It made it through the winter and being covered in a foot of snow! I definitely need to try to plant “rows” next time instead of just scattering it, but it’s looking the same as the commercial wheat growing across the field. So, at least I am not totally off base! Here’s hoping it keeps going!

Photo Feb 27, 10 53 15 AM

Photo Feb 27, 10 53 22 AM

Alright, I’ll keep ya posted. Next time maybe our little farm boy will have arrived! Counting down the days now!!

Warm Weather Wishes and Worm Update
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4 thoughts on “Warm Weather Wishes and Worm Update

  • March 4, 2014 at 9:24 pm
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    There’s a great book called, Worms Eat My Garbage, by Mary Appelhof. If you haven’t read it, it is the classic vermiculture book. I highly recommend it since balance is what keeps the little guys happy, making castings and reproducing. If you need any help, let me know. Ours is about 6 months along, and boy, those guys are good a math! How exciting since you are now a micro-livestock keeper! Happy Homesteading.

    Reply
  • March 4, 2014 at 10:00 pm
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    That’s fantastic! I’ll pick that up! My biggest question is how much food I should be feeding them. I was a dummy and forgot to weigh them. I got about 100 worms from the bait shop…I fed them about 3/4 of a cup because volume wise it looked to be about as much as the worms. I’ll check in another few days to see how much is gone!

    Reply
  • March 5, 2014 at 1:22 pm
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    They don’t eat very much at first, and they eat the shredded paper (bedding) too, so don’t worry about them too much at first. I feed mine chicken droppings and leftover chicken scraps (stuff the chickens don’t eat, and the chickens eat our leftovers along with their feed/scratch — pretty cool!). I just feed them every few days. They seem to be thriving. If you get concerned about them, melon rinds are very popular with worms. They also love coffee grounds and egg shells also!

    I keep a flashlight, spade (a small shovel or soup spoon will do to bury the scraps), cheap garden gloves, water bottle, and a small container of corn meal that I sprinkle in from time to time (one of the forums said it is supposed to encourage reproduction, who knows for sure?) near the bin in the garage. That way, it is all there when I need it.

    Be sure to bury any food scraps so they don’t smell or attract fruit flies. If the worms try escaping, it is probably too wet so add more bedding. Keep it moist though because they breathe through their skin, and it has to be moist — like a wrung out sponge. The book will help troubleshoot any problems. I was a little nervous at first, thinking I’d kill them, but It is pretty forgiving as long as it doesn’t dry out and has plenty of food (but not too much), they will do great. Just check it every few days. You get a feel for the balance of food and moisture that you need over time. When my granddaughter is in town, she loves to find worms from the bin to feed to the chickens! it is a very cool kid project.

    Reply
    • March 5, 2014 at 1:40 pm
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      Good info! I’ll get the book today and read through it. So far they haven’t climbed out! Guess it will take a while to really know if they are thriving or not…but at least they aren’t dead! Thanks for the tips!

      Reply

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