Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Death + Life: New Year Comes

I will admit I have been neglecting my worm bin for the past 4 months.
They (most anyway) are still alive down there.
I let the newspaper almost dry out.
I failed to feed them regularly.
I mostly just neglected them completely.
Poor worms. This just attests to their ability to survive and endure poor living conditions.
But this will all change soon.
With the new year comes an opportunity for me to take better care of my worms, since my living situation will be different. For the first time in my life I will be living alone and my worms will keep me company. Things will change. Writing this makes it so.

Other posts/projects to come:

Yes, I purchased a sprouter at the Vegetarian Food Food Fair in Toronto this summer.
Check out Tony Hornick's website. He's got lots of useful information about sprouting your own seeds and the health benefits of eating them.

I will photo document the process of sprouting my own healthy seeds this January 2010.

Cheap food and Tony says they're chalk full of nutrients so eat 'em up!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Moving On

I'm moving to a new apartment, one without a balcony, so I decided to "downgrade" my vermicomposter into a smaller sized bin and sell my original big bin including all of its contents on craigslist. It was weird saying goodbye to my bin as I put a lot of work into it, and had a connection to it. I don't really have a use for the vermicompost inside the bin anymore since I will no longer have a balcony garden. I still want to be able to compost year round, so I've opted for a smaller under-the-kitchen-sink size bin.
But my bin went to a good home and you can follow its journey on this lady's blog here. I'm sure the vermicompost will be put to good use in her garden, and the worms will do a wonderful job eating her family's kitchen waste. Oh boy, bin, you sure do get around!
So, before I sold the bin I made a much smaller worm bin and put a few worms in it. This is a photo of it above. Unfortunately all of the smaller sized plastic bins I could find at Canadian Tire were translucent. I want the bin to be able to fit under my kitchen sink nicely so I opted to buy this small clear plastic bin and cover the whole of the exterior with duct tape to make it opaque, since worms do not like light.
I drilled many ventilation holes in the lid, bottom and sides of the worm bin, just as with my original vermicomposter. Duct tape holds screen in place over top of the holes to ensure nothing escapes.
A few days prior to introducing the worms I shredded up some old newspapers, moistened them down in a large recycling bag and let them sit and fester. The worms like materials that have festered as they're easier for them to start breaking down. I added a handful of soil and some crushed eggshells to the bedding mix. Then I added the worms to their new home!
A couple of days after I let the worms settle in to their new home I fed them some vegetable scraps.

Beautiful stripy red worms!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Mold in the Vermicomposting Bin

I've noticed various molds growing on the bedding of my worm bin since I started it. I've never been too worried about them as I figured they were part of the decomposition process. I have found some interesting (to say the least) mold formations growing out of the ventilation holes in the side of my bin since it's come indoors for the winter. After reading this article I found out that it might be from feeding my bin too much. I was worried my worms were not getting enough to eat so I was a little overzealous the last time I fed. I'm going to stick to the 1 to every 2 weeks I've been feeding them, since that seems to work best for my bin. When I feed it's what I feel is a good sized bowl full of scraps. I keep the scraps in a container in my fridge so they can break down a little prior to being added to my bin (the worms will eat them faster this way). I've been wiping down my bin frequently to prevent the mold from reoccuring, and added more fresh moist newspaper bedding on top. If the mold comes again I will take a picture of it. - Read this article for great information on all of the other wonderful creatures living in your bin, how to cope, deal, and just realize that they're your friends too.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Worm Bin: Winter Update

It is now January and my worm bin has been living indoors for 2-3 months now. The harvest method I tried which relied on the worms migrating from one side of the bin to the other (see previous post) has not been successful. I've checked the old, casting-rich side of the bin several times and it is still quite packed with red worms throughout it. It is disappointing that the worms did not move.
I have decided to try to get the bin through Winter until I can move it back out onto my balcony where I will do another harvest by sorting. I feel bad letting the worms live in their own poo but I'd prefer not to harvest by a pile and sort method inside my small apartment with 2 cats and a dog in poor winter sunlight. I have been topping up the bedding in my bin around every 2 weeks as it shrinks down quickly and I want to make sure they have enough fresh bedding available. The moisture level of the bin's contents is good and is maintaining itself nicely without any spraying from me. I've been feeding weekly.
During the winter I do not compost as much as during the summer, when I compost everything that can be composted. Since I am not using the outdoor community composter during the Winter for larger compostables I don't feel like chopping up or those that I avoid putting in my worm bin, I end up throwing some of it in the garbage. It does still feel good though being able to compost the majority of food waste and scraps from my kitchen in my worm bin.