Tag Archives: worm composting

Collecting Worm Castings…and the Other Stuff, Too.

Emptying the Worm Inn vermicomposting system is a breeze- check out the gorgeous castings!  I don’t miss my old worm bin at all.

The contaminants are pretty funny, too- a few fruit labels, a shredded envelope window, and some uncrushed eggshells didn’t make it.

Sifting out the extras is easy when using a basket with 1/4″ to 1/2″ spacing.

Are you getting the results you’d like with your worm bin or outdoor composting system?

Lots and Lots of Worm Poop – Now What?

worm inn castings 1

It’s been six months since I’ve emptied the Worm Inn system– I admit I forgot about the worms for a bit, but now I have a ton of castings.

Every time I empty the Worm Inn, I’m always so impressed with the quality of the castings compared to the results from a standard worm bin.

When looking at the outlying “contaminants”, it’s like looking back in time at mistakes that were made- as you can see, I have a few!

worm inn castings + contaminants 2

  1. I’m such a stickler about removing labels from fruit, but I guess I wasn’t on a few occasions.  Luckily, these are easy to spot.

2. All those plastic shreds were clearly from an envelope that has a plastic window.  I like to shred my paper, but I must have shredded a whole junk mail envelope without looking inside to remove a return envelope.  Whoops!

3. I read everywhere that worms like crushed egg shells… clearly I haven’t tried that yet.  I’m going to crush these egg shells as fine as I can and then throw them back in.

The screening process is pretty easy- Empty the castings until some unprocessed food or worms pop up, then throw them back in the top of the system and zip up the bottom.

I have a wire basket that I dump the castings through, which removes the larger pieces.

The resulting materials are those excellent castings we all yearn for… if you’re having any challenges with vermicomposting, the Worm Inn really makes the whole process pretty easy.

Video to come shortly.  🙂

Summer Worm Composting: So Far, So Good

I’ve been enjoying the Worm Inn Mega this summer with no issues, and it’s simply due to having ample cover material.

The Worm Inn Mega is big enough for there to be plenty of cover material to begin with…you can really load it up to prevent flying pests and also keep the worms busy.

I actually have a hard time filling it up because the worms are just mowing through the material- Capacity really makes the whole process a lot easier.

I just realized that you might not have heard about this system…

Have you seen the Worm Inn Mega yet?  Check out my dorky review below for more information… this is my top recommendation for those of you out there looking to compost at home but lack the outdoor space.

Vermicomposting made simple.

Click here to learn more about the Worm Inn Mega system.

 

“Worms At Work” Play Pavilion

http://www.sacurrent.com/sanantonio/storybook-houses-brings-whimsical-favorites-to-the-san-antonio-botanical-garden/Content?oid=2514151

A few months ago, Lauran Drown got in touch and asked for some vermicomposting tips… and then she comes back with this:

Worms At Work 2

Worms At Work

Wow!  This is insane!  What an excellent way to show how worms work to naturally provide a necessary soil amendment.

These are the things that help inspire and create curiosity… if you’re in the San Antonio area, go check it out!

Learn more about what Lauran is up to at http://www.bucrane.com .

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!

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.

Worm Inn MEGA Review

Worm Inn MEGA Review

The Worm Inn MEGA is the latest improvement on the original Worm Inn system.

With this system you can turn huge quantities of organic materials into worm castings fairly quickly, without the hassle.

Simply add a layer of shredded cardboard, some shredded paper, a dash of leaves and of course food scraps.  Let the material sit for a week while you order the red wiggler worms for the system.  Anywhere from 3-5 pounds will do.

From there, it’s as easy as adding your food scraps each week and removing fresh castings from the bottom via the drawstring opening.

This system reigns superior over the others simply due to its huge capacity in a footprint of just 20″ x 20″ and its exceptional airflow which prevents it from getting oversaturated.

If you aren’t working with a lot of space and want to compost year round, the Worm Inn MEGA can really make it happen for you.