Tag Archives: worm castings

How to Screen Worm Compost (video)

How to Screen Worm Compost

Here’s a neat video on how to screen worm compost.  Cassandra keeps it simple in this video and has some nice results.  I do pretty much the same thing, except my screen is a repurposed basket with a piece of wire mesh placed in the bottom.

She makes mention of running a fan over the top of the castings when you first harvest them…it’s true- when you first remove your castings and put the worms back, the stuff is so gooey that a screen doesn’t work so well.  Drying them out just a bit will help, although I wouldn’t want to dry them too much and risk losing some of their benefit.

The Clash of the Composts! vol. 2

The Clash of the Composts! vol. 2

It’s time for Clash of the Composts round 2, and this time I’m growing chives.  The 4 soil types are: worm castings, tumbler compost, commercial compost and trench compost/dirt.

This time around was pretty much the same…my homemade worm castings and tumbler compost outperformed the commercial compost and the regular dirt by a bit.

One cool thing I noticed this time was how the commercial compost was free of weeds…this is due to the thermal kill levels of mass piles of compost, and it showed.  Perhaps that is also why it didn’t do as well as my stuff.

The obvious conclusion here, like last time, is that compost definitely helps your stuff grow…so use it!

Hit the Like button and let me know if you’ve tried comparing compost types before…it’s actually a lot of fun!  If you haven’t signed up for my free composting course, you should do that on the right hand side of the page.

How do you Empty the Worm Inn? (video)

How Do You Empty the Worm Inn?

I’ve been getting a lot of email regarding how to empty the Worm Inn composting system: How do you get the castings out? How do you keep the worms from escaping? Do you have to screen through all the material you just put in? All questions with super simple answers.

Since worms eat the material from the bottom up, they leave behind their precious castings. As you can see in the video, you simply open the drawstrings and take them out. If you find a worm, you’ve reached the end of your castings and you simply put the worm back in the top of the Worm Inn.

There may be an odd piece of unprocessed material as you dig through the castings, but as with the worms, just put them back in the top and let the worms eat it later.

Simple! I love this thing. This really is the easiest worm system to work with out there.

When is Your Compost Ready to Use? (video)

When is Your Compost Ready to Use?

When is your compost ready to use? Some questions to ask yourself include:

How does it look?
Can you recognize any of the material?
How does it smell?
Is the material warm?

Here I have a few different samples of compost…vermicompost, tumbler compost, commercial compost, and trench compost.

What do you think of these samples?  I feel like my tumbler compost and vermicastings could both go even longer before using them, but that they’re still OK if I were to use them now.  In fact, I’m going to use these samples for my next “Clash of The Composts!” experiment coming soon… stay tuned!

My Basil is Still Growing…yes!

A few weeks ago, I decided to harvest all of my basil plants from the Clash of the Composts! experiment. They were all looking so good for so long…those big bright and shiny green leaves. At a certain point, they outgrew their pots it seemed, and started to look worse.

I moved two out of each of the pots in the experiment to free up space, and put them all together in another container. It definitely improved the growth of the experiment pots, but only for a short time. The ones in the new slender container were looking even better.

Anyway, I chopped everything off to make a pesto and didn’t expect anything to happen in the pots after that. It’s been a few weeks, let’s see how they look:

Control and Commercial Compost basil

Tea Leaf and Tumbler Compost basil

Worm Castings and new container

It looks to me like it’s repeating my old experiment from the start! The tea leaf compost and my compost out of my tumbler are looking the best, worm castings and commercial compost are neck and neck, and the control pot has the least activity.

It’s funny how small they all look in comparison to the uncrowded pot of basil…wow! When I try a new growing experiment in the spring, you can bet I’m going to give every plant a lot more space. Lesson learned for sure.

The Clash of the Composts! (youtube)

The Clash of the Composts!

Here’s the results after three weeks of anxiously watching basil grow.  In order from awesome to least awesome: Tea leaf compost, tumbler compost, commercial compost, worm castings, no compost.

The obvious conclusion is that compost is better than no compost.  Not only is it a fertilizer and soil conditioner, but it allows soil to maintain its nutrients and while supporting essential bacteria.

Are you surprised by the results?  I thought that the worm castings would come out on top.  I think I could have waited longer on my worm castings, though…same with my tumbler material.

I’m going to try the experiment again in a few weeks with all fresh batches of material, and maybe I’ll add some other soil types while I’m at it (know anyone with grub compost?).

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed the video as much as I did…this was my first time growing anything and I had a blast.  Any suggestions for round 2?

Clash of the Composts – week 2 results

As week 2 comes to a close, it’s safe to say that the tea leaf compost is still looking the best with all of its seeds sprouted and looking tall.  It also appears to me that using compost is a no-brainer for growing stuff!

Week 2 - Control

Week 2 - commercial compost
Week 2 - Tea Leaf Compost
Week 2 - Tumbler Compost
Week 2 - Vermicompost

Is that it?  I think I’m going to keep updating as it goes along…I didn’t think I was going to have this much fun with growing basil.  One creepy thing I noticed is that my basil is popping up in places that I SWEAR I didn’t put the seeds…namely the commercial compost pot.  I definitely put the seeds around the outsides, too…how are they all clumped in the center?  There was a torrential downpour in the initial stages of the experiment, could that have shuffled them around?

Clash of the Composts – Week 1

It’s been a whole week since starting my latest experiment comparing basil growth in different soil types…so how are we doing?  It looks like all 5 pots have sprouts, with the tea leaf compost and my tumbler compost tying at 9 a piece.  To my surprise, the vermicompost has just two sprouts so far.  Let’s take a look:

Control soil: 1 tiny sprout
Commercial Compost - 4 sprouts
Tea Leaf Compost - 9 sprouts
My tumbler compost - 9 sprouts
Vermicompost - 2 sprouts

There you have it!  Are these the results you expected?  I’m pretty psyched to see how this experiment progresses…

The Clash of the Composts!

Time for an experiment!

I just realized that I have a lot of basil seeds, and a lot of different types of compost sitting around here…so I came up with the genius idea to try growing basil in each of them and see what happens.

What really brought this experiment along is that I had to cut down my only tree in the backyard the other day, so now I have my first direct sunlight ever since moving into my house a few years ago.  My balcony makes a great place to put tons of plants now…I can hear them thanking me.

From left to right, the candidates are: Dirt from across the street, compost from a commercial compost facility (computer controlled high temperatures and goretex covers), tea leaf compost from the Random Tea Room here in Philly, compost from my tumbler, and finally vermicompost sourced from the Worm Inn and worm bin.

The pots are all filled with organic fertilizer, and the top inch is the specified type of dirt.  I’m essentially brand new to gardening, but I learned that you can’t grow plants well in pure compost…it needs to be a mix.  Each pot has 8 tiny sweet basil seeds in it, and they are all being watered the same, twice a week.  Maybe three times.  My concern is that it’s pretty damn hot and I don’t want the soil to dry out.

Yes yes, there will be a video when this is all concluded, whenever that is.  Actually, I’ve been quite flattered by the number of people that have been asking me about results of old experiments…thanks for the reminders, and I feel pretty good that other people are kinda watching what I’m doing.

What errors can you think of that could swerve this whole experiment?  I’m sure there’s plenty.  But I’d just like to give it a try and see what happens…if I can get others to think about composting a little bit more in their daily lives, I’m stoked.

Let the basil growing begin!

The Secret to Simple Vermicomposting: The Worm Inn

The Worm Inn Mega makes vermicomposting a no-brainer…it can handle more material, more effectively. Yep, it really is that simple.

The main difference between the Worm Inn Mega and a plastic bin is the breathability… no matter how many holes you drill in a plastic bin, it won’t equal the awesomeness of a Cordura sack. Now, I’m not hating on plastic bins by any means…they’re great to get a handle on the process and they do work. However, you’ll be able to process a lot more waste with the Inn, plain and simple.

The other main factor, while not as important to me as you hardcore gardeners, is the castings. Plastic bins are obviously not easy to work with, while the Inn is as simple as opening a drawstring. I’ll be posting videos on this in the coming months for sure. As I said before, I will be giving gardening a try this year although i have no space. Which is another reason I love vermicomposting…anyone in the smallest living situation can use one of these and handle their waste with ease.