Friday, April 11, 2008

Vermicomposting Part 2: Preparing the Bedding & Introducing the Worms

The worms arrived today! I fetched them on my bicycle from the Grassroots store on Danforth Ave. Here's what they came in:

Several days before the worms arrived, we started to prepare their bedding by shredding newspaper into strips to nearly fill the bin.

We mixed in some hay with the newspaper and then moistened the whole bedding mixture.

After sitting for a few days while we waited for the worms to arrive, this mixture already began to decompose. We found the bedding material had shrank down and dried out a bit, so we wet it down, added more strips of newspaper and wrung it out well, allowing the excess water to drain out the bottom. The moistness of the bedding should be that of a well wrung-out sponge.

Once the worms came in we crushed up egg shells we had saved and mixed them in with some soil which we added to the bedding mix.

I then mixed the bedding material well with my hands.

Finally, it was time to add the key component, the red wriggler worms! We emptied them into the bin and watched and listened to them slowly penetrate down into the bedding.

Click to enlarge

I will let the worms settle into their new home for at least 24 hrs and then begin feeding them with my food waste. We have already been saving food scraps for our worms.

Larger food scraps such as banana peels and melon rinds should be chopped up into smaller bits, to help the worms break them down faster. I purchased a cheap knife and cutting board designated for this purpose.

This is an exciting venture and I look forward to observing the vermicomposting process unfold.

Breakdown of my Costs & Materials:

-plastic storage bin: around $5.99
-aluminum catch tray: $1.49
-screen: $2.99 (still have lots left on the roll for other projects)
-wooden legs and slats: free
-newspaper: free (subscription I had for free)
-timothy hay: $9.99 (still have loads left, can be used as bedding if needed in future)
-soil: free (remnants from bag from last year)
-eggshells: free
-worms: $61.02
Total cost with tax: $84.14

To me, this is worth it. Not only is this a neat hobby for me but it makes me feel great knowing I am keeping food waste out of the garbage while producing my own rich plant fertilizer. Also, it was fun designing and building the bin.

To come: Feeding the worms for the first time and documenting the vermicomposting process!


Anonymous said...

60 dollars sounds like alot for worms. How many did you get? I got 30 for 2 dollars.

bonnie scott said...

1 pound.