Hello and welcome to the Landerholmstead!
We are excited to tell our story and share instructions for DIY projects as we experiment on the road to self sufficiency.
So first things first: Composting!
Hopefully you already know the value of compost, but if not, check out 5 Reasons Why Composting is the Greenest Thing You Can Do.
There are numerous ways you can compost, but today we’re focusing on vermicomposting: using red wiggler worms to break down organic matter into nutrient dense worm castings – yes, worm poop.
Planet Natural refers to worm castings as a “Plant Superfood”, and explains how vermicomposting “refines” your composted materials, reducing “nutrients, including minerals… to their most usable form.”
Although castings are incredibly nutrient dense, they cannot damage your plants with chemical burns (like many on-the-market fertilizers) because they are coated in a mucus that causes nutrients to slowly leach into the soil. This also means their effects will last much longer than chemical or other fertilizers!
Additionally, worms are being researched for their ability to detoxify soil, meaning you may not have to restrict what organic materials are added to your composter: your worms remove toxins and make it safe for garden use!
And one extra bonus – worm castings are odorless! So no matter how many stinky things you put into it, the final product won’t affect the smell of your landscaping.
Now, what do you need to get started??
- Plastic bin, any size. Size will only affect how much you can compost at once.
- Great way to upcycle unused and space-consuming storage boxes!
- Drill + large drill bit
- Red Wiggler Worms <— purchase here and you’re supporting our blog and homestead! (Read how)
- Handful of soil
- Newspaper, shredded in strips
- Compostable materials (Produce scraps, eggshells, coffee grounds, yard waste, lawn trimmings, etc.)
- Cardboard – optional
- Helper dog – also optional
- Drill alternating holes in the bottom of the bin. (These give the worms an escape-route in case of too much or too little heat, water, or food. Don’t worry, as long as you keep adding food to the top, the worms will keep coming back for food. This just ensures their survivability!)
- We started with 10 holes in our approximately 12″ x 18″ x 12″ bin. After later observing standing liquid in the bottom of the bin, we increased their size and added 4 more for a total of 14.
- Add a handful or two of soil, just enough to cover the bottom of the bin.
- Any soil will do for this, no need to purchase a specific type. Grab a handful from your yard and you’re good to go!
- Top the dirt with your Red Wigglers.
- Carefully add your initial compostable materials
- Your worms will require semi-regular feeding. The more food you add, the more they will reproduce, and vice versa. For this reason, make it easy for yourself! If you know you’ll dump the day’s end food scraps in their every evening, great! Just be consistent and monitor the levels of food to worms, worms to food.
- Finish with a layer of newspaper and cardboard, if using.
- If you live in an area with seasonal fruit fly problems, load up on this top layer!
This post was originally on one of our sister sites: Everything Needs Cheese, which will exclusively share food-related posts henceforth.
Please comment below if you’ve tried this or other composting methods! 🙂
© The Landerholmstead, 2016.