Tag Archives: vermicomposting

No Impact Man Vermicomposting

I just saw No Impact Man for the first time- can I get a late pass?

If you haven’t checked out this documentary it was actually pretty good.  Of course, I had serious doubts up front as I’ve gone through the peaks and troughs of studying environmental issues my whole life… but the family did a great job.

He called out recycling as not being a reliable solution, or where someone should think their responsibilities end.  All in all, he knew what he was talking about and he definitely put me in check, which felt great.

I was excited to see if he would implement a compost toilet system, or more predictably a worm bin since he lives in a NYC apartment.

He went with the latter, and it looks like it worked out for the most part.

In one scene later in the movie, he focuses on how there’s tons of bugs flying around… yep- this can happen!  While he didn’t provide any solution in the movie, I’m curious if he tried a vinegar & dish soap trap.

I’m surprised that he would get a bunch of flack for doing it… I see it as insecurities of everyone watching that now realizes they aren’t doing much to turn our issues around.

I challenge you to take one element from this movie and give it a shot… I’m going to try the pot-in-a-pot refrigerator.  I’ve heard about these in the past, but now I want to make it happen.

Also, I need to make my laundry detergent recipe better…more essential oils maybe?

My cooking skills suck, too… I can do better.  We can all do better.

 

Is Indoor Composting a Good Idea?

After creating my video, I was shown a video of an indoor teracotta pot composting system in India that truly works…she’s a pro!

Check it out here:

While my video was referring specifically to a full sized compost bin or compost tumbler being set up indoors, which would be a mess… she’s circumvented that with the stacking kambha system.  I’m very tempted to re-create this system.

Give composting your best shot through the winter season- have some fun and get creative!

Thanks for watching!

A Brief Look at Different Vermicomposts

My vermicompost never looks as good as his does!

I tend to have stuff resembling the middle bin, but not even that fine.  I don’t tend to let mine cure…until now.

Now that we’re going into the winter (worm season), I’m going to really focus on coming up with some great stuff by the time spring comes around.

Bentley makes it look easy, doesn’t it?  If you ever have any questions on vermicomposting, be sure to check out redwormcomposting.com .  This dude lives it!

How to Add Bedding to a Worm Bin

Here’s my quick tips for how to add food scraps and a new layer of bedding to your worm system.  The key is to keep your food scraps covered with damp bedding.

Here’s how a worm system dying for new material looks:

1. worm inn-before

1) Fill bucket with cardboard.  I have about half a bucket here, which is enough for my Worm Inn Mega.

2. cardboard in bucket

2) Add enough water to submerge all the cardboard…you’ll notice it only takes an inch of water…cardboard shrivels up significantly when you push down on it.

3. soaked cardboard in bucket

3) Let the cardboard soak.  I made a smoothie while I waited.  Drain out the excess water.

4. drained cardboard & juicer waste

4) Add your food scraps first, followed by your damp bedding.  This is key!  You want the bedding to cover your food scraps entirely to minimize any flying pests or odors.

5. fresh bedding in worm inn

There you have it- your worms are happy with new food, and damp bedding to crawl around in (and also eat).

The Worms Say Hi

worm inn mega wormsI just cleared out the remainder of my produce in the fridge and made a kale/carrot/apple/ginger/cucumber/spirulina/cardboard smoothie.

Over the last few months, I’ve refined what I give the worms to mostly juicer waste and a fair bit of dampened cardboard as a cover material.

I’ve definitely seen them become more plump and/or healthy looking in general.

I got worried for a bit when I was focusing on my compost toilet efforts a bit obsessively through the winter to ensure my pile cooked through the near zero degree temperatures.

Now that the pile is killing off every pathogen in sight by maintaining a constant 120-130F, I can give the worms their deserved attention.

Since I neglected them, I’m just keeping it simple with juicer waste… I feel like it definitely revitalized the population.

Beforehand, I was throwing all kinds of crap at them such as wax paper and other paper products that most likely had a plastic liner embedded in them.

Of course, the worms didn’t like that junk and hunkered down far away from the stuff and didn’t appear healthy.

Material size/surface area definitely matters.  Eliminating plastic content really makes them happy, too.

I’m a pretty boring eater- I’ve eaten roughly five different things in rotation all the time for as long as I can remember.

I don’t know if the worms hate me for it, but I’m keeping their diet equally boring and watching them stay healthy instead of throwing curves and feeling weird about it.

Welcome back, worms!

…and if you’re not familiar with the Worm Inn Mega, check it out here.  It’s the most forgiving, easy-to-use worm system you’ll ever find…

Can you Compost Indoors with a Bin or Tumbler?

Depending on where you live, composting in the winter can be a real drag.

Every winter I receive emails asking if it’s possible to compost indoors.

The answer is pretty simple- If composting with worms, yes.  If you want to keep a compost tumbler or compost bin in your basement or the garage…no.

Well, I guess you can do what you want really, depending on your tolerance for other forms of life sharing your space.  Remember that compost piles are ecosystems full of life.

Materials break down year round…decomposition slows in the winter, but not enough to warrant bringing a composting system indoors.

Here’s the factors that come into play when trying to compost in the basement/indoors:

1) Mice.  Compost piles are nice, warm places to live…this can invite mice.  A compost tumbler can most likely avoid this issue, but then there’s…

2) Ants/flies/other critters.  Chances are they will find the compost pile.  They can enter a compost tumbler through the air holes.  If your compost tumbler doesn’t have air holes, return it and get another one.

3) Pests aside, composting indoors can allow for leachate to run from the bottom.  This would be a fun challenge, as with a good 12″ of fluffy browns in the bottom of the pile, this should sponge everything up… but you may still see a little bit depending on what you’re adding.

4) While composting shouldn’t cause any odor issues, a restricted space with that much material increases your chances that you will smell something.  Now that I’m naming all these reasons discouraging you from trying, it makes me want to try it.

5) Mess.  For this reason I’d say a compost bin is out of the question.  What do you do when you have finished material you’d like to remove?

Keep your composting system outdoors (unless you decide to start vermicomposting).

Stash enough cover material to last your weekly trips outside for the winter.  This could be as little as just a few bags of leaves.

Your pile will still shrink as time goes on, just not as noticeably as it does in the months well above freezing.

If you need to compost indoors for space constraints, leave it to the worms.  Otherwise, set something up outdoors.