Tuesday, December 22, 2009

We have worms

We've had them for about six months. They're contageous, too. At least to a certain type of person.

Homesteading in the city can be a hard thing. Especially when you're working with the few square feet of dirt we have. Our entire lot is about 30 wide by 100 long and it's got a house, shed, and parking on it. That leaves little for the myriad of outdoor activities we try to persue; playing, hanging laundry, water collecting, hammock swinging, gardening and last but not in the most least, composting. It's not feasible with the large collection of wild animals in the city and the limited ground resources to have a large multi-tiered compost area. That's where the worms come in folks.

While I'm still learning the quirks of tending natures composters, we've successfully raised hearty fat red worms in our front yard. We've had to pluck out grubs that infiltrated and clean out the bins when ants invaded. Finding that right mix of greens and browns can be tricky. So far, I've found that my mistakes haven't seemed to harm my wormies. Though I worry about the upcoming cold. The weather's finally turned chill. The photos were taken today.

It started out with a black tiered bin specially made for our purpose and two pounds of worms, shipped to me live off ebay (you really can get anything online) in coconut coir for under $20.  I feed them about once a week or whenever I have scraps. Worms can eat half their body weight in organic matter in a day. Doesn't sound like much? What if you have three to five pounds of worms wriggling in your bins? See, that's a lot of table scraps, people.  Usually, the days I process fruits or veggies for freezing or dehydrating is feeding day. I don't have a large enough outfit to compost everything we dispose of...yet.

These quiet garden helpers hang out inconspicuosly in the front yard on what is supposed to be a dining table that gets mostly gardening use. There is no smell and they really need very little attentions. Every couple weeks I empty out the bottom drain and feed my plants safe, natural liquid fertlizer.

It can be fairly inexpensive depending on the set up you choose -and there are many and varied to pick from - but be sure to remember the make and model if you need to expand your set up. I found our set up on sale with free shipping, I think it was somewhere around $70. I added a few more bins later on (that's why it's helpful to remember the brand/type you bought!). The worms proliferate all on their own after your first batch. If you end up with too many you can help a neighbor set up their own wormery or use them for bait. It's a great way to make your own organic fertilizer, dispose of scraps and maybe even throw in a homeschooling lesson.

If I've piqued your interest in starting your own worm farm here are some helpful links:

1 comment:

Mary Q Contrarie said...

I love worms. They are a great friend of the earth. It sounds like you are doing incredible things on your small piece of property. Where I live they have a law against hanging laundry outside. So I dry all my clothes on clothes drying racks. The powers that be didn't think they needed a law against worms... Ha I'll show those bureaucrats.