Monday, October 28, 2013

Worms: Amazing Return On Investment

Me with a handful of composting worms.  

This evening we finished harvesting the rest of our compost and worms... I was amazed at the process...

6 months ago for some reason I wanted to start vermicomposting.  Vermicomposting is composting with worms.  Not just your regular night crawlers... I'm using red wigglers and blue niles.  
I got a start up kit from Kokua Worms.  I think it set me back like $60.  But you could totally DIY it on your own.  You'll just have to find someone that sells composting worms.  

I honestly don't even know where the idea came from, this was long well before I had started a garden.  But in God's perfect timing, I'm doing my first harvest of compost when I just planted some vegetable and fruits that are going to greatly benefit from it!  

I've been border line obsessed with gardening.  I love just standing out in my back yard "fussing" with my plants.  Coming in to 2013 I realized that all of my "skills" were digital.  And if the power ever went out I was going to be in real trouble.  So I wanted to pick up some real life skills.  I guess gardening is it.  

It's a bit strange that I'm so into gardening... I think many people would find this as a surprise.  

I started to appreciate gardening, walking around Seth and Jamie's one acre farm in Indiana.  That was a really healing place for me, which I'm not going to explain now.  I'm so grateful for the Rainwaters who let us move into their basement in 2010 with less than a weeks notice.  

Anyway onto the composting story.  

 My amazing wife who helped me with harvesting the compost.

What amazes me the most about composting is the return on investment.  I had AT least double the amount of worms maybe even triple.  And I was able to fill probably 2/3 of a 5 gallon bucket with compost.  And these worms did all of this from paper scraps, water, fruit and vegetable scraps and 6 months time.  I'm pretty amazed.  I'm benefiting from more worms and compost for things I would have just put in the trash.  

The bin sits under our living room table, and it doesn't stink at all.  
I side dressed (put compost around the stem) of my tomato plant seedling, my sun flower seedling (which I'm hoping bounces back and stands up again after tonite's rain) my lilikoi, a purple flower I bought recently, (can't remember the name) my dahlia seedling,  one of my small pots of spinach, and my Okinawan spinach.  That was about half of yesterdays load of compost.  

I also dumped all of yesterdays worms that we harvested into my aquaponics beds and also some of the potted plants that I listed above.  

I've been learning that if you take leaves of plants and create a mulch layer on top of the soil they are in that it's very beneficial.  This is part of "natural farming."  I also figure that the worms could come up to the top and munch on the leaves and constantly be aerating and adding more compost to the soil.  Sounds good to me.  

Then I started all over.  I tore up some newspapers that I've been getting for free from starbucks.  And put a the worms from tonite's harvest in there with some food scraps and covered it with more paper and sprayed it down with a water bottle.  

I'll keep continuing this process and in 6 months again I'll have more worms and more compost!  I just have to find someone to baby sit them while I'm back on the mainland for a few months... hmmm any volunteers?  

Engage:  Have you ever vermicomposted?  How about regular composting?  Let us know in the comments.  

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