Busy, busy, busy, whew, this time of year has all the attractions doesn’t it. Garden preparation, seeding, transplanting the whole deal. Back to outdoor composting and building the soil we go. What’s your favorite area of concentration in spring, are you in it for the worms or the vermicompost? ‘Cause ya know, you can’t have one without the other.
People have different vermicomposting goals and desires, some are more oriented to castings production and others want speedy breakdown of organic waste. The methods are the same but the variables can be worlds apart. For example let’s talk about the kitchen first, if your mail goals are directed toward speedy destruction of food scraps there are a few tricks to optimize your system. How much waste are you producing and how broken down is it? Worms wait until natural bacterial decomposition is breaking down the material before they can ingest it. Anything you can do to create surface area on your scraps will give the bacteria an opening to begin the cell by cell conversion of organic waste. Freezing then thawing is really effective as it actually explodes the cell membrane. Chopping and blending food scraps speeds things up too. The worm to composting surface area is certainly a factor in this equation, the more worms you have the faster food will be consumed. Depending on your use of bedding this type of system can be a little wet and sloppy but your kitchen waste will be gone in a jiff. The castings production is a secondary concern but you’ll still need to periodically remove excess material and aerate the bin.
But I want to feed my plants! As you should, if quality castings are your hearts desire, well, red wigglers LOVE manure…… almost all kinds. Not many folks have access to fresh manure in the city but even the old stuff is a nice addition to an outdoor (and sometimes indoor) worm bin. In fact, it’s always a good idea to incorporate extra natural organic material into any closed system, just to give it an aerobic bacterial infusion. But, your bedding is what makes or breaks vermicast production. To produce dark fluffy castings concentrate on the carbon to nitrogen ratio and the bedding material. As the bedding breaks down the worms will slowly consume it. Bins that have more time to “stew” tend to produce drier, airier shall we say cast.
Bedding also plays a significant role in breeding, where do you think the worms go to get a little privacy away form prying wormy eyes…….
One final “heads up” today, we have oodles of fresh castings just waiting for deployment in your garden, contact us here or through our Face Book page for info.