We have a problem and it looks like this.
We religiously save our food scraps and add them to the backyard compost bin. There's just no sense letting all that "fuel" go to waste when compost is one of the best things you can do for your garden.
But the bin is stuffed to the gills and we need another option. That got us thinking about these guys...
Now, full disclosure. Tanya brought up the idea of vermicomposting several years ago but was roundly poo-pooed. We were living in a townhouse and didn't have a designated space for a worm bin. Sure, lots of people raise worms in a small bucket under the kitchen sink. But that totally grossed out the kids. So we tabled the idea.
But now we live in a house that boasts the world's largest laundry room (seriously, it's bigger than our first apartment!), so there's no excuse.
We did a little Googling and found this guy (and his incredibly cute little girl)...
He's Bentley "The Compost Guy" Christie, a self-professed "vermiholic wormhead". His website is chock full of great info. Especially his Getting Started Page, which is sort of our bible for getting started:
Step 1 -- Get your hands on an opaque container that's large enough, but not too large. You want opaque so the light doesn't mess with the worms. Oh, and if you can, get yourself a trusty sidekick like Ruby to keep you company.
Step 2-- Drill 20 holes in the lid.
Step 3 -- Drill a total of 20 holes around the sides of the bucket. We did 7 on each long side and 3 on each short side.
Step 4 -- You'll need bedding for your wormies. Bentley "The Compost Guy" says they prefer cardboard.
(Who knew Girl Scout Cookie boxes could be so useful? Just another reason to buy some extra cookies this season!)
Cut up the boxes into small pieces, then layer the pieces in the bottom of the bucket.
Step 5: Add food scraps.
Now, a couple of tips on food scraps from Bentley "Our Compost Guy" (yes, we've spent so much time on his website lately he's starting to feel like family!):
* Vegetable & fruit waste (citrus fruit should be added in moderation when using smaller bins)
* Starchy materials – bread, pasta, rice, potatoes – all in moderation (beginners may want to avoid these altogether initially)
* Aged animal manures (careful with rabbit and poultry – need lots of bedding to balance)
* Shredded newspaper, used paper towels (common sense applies here), cardboard (great idea to add these carbon rich materials at the same time you add any wet food waste)
* Egg shells (best if ground up and in moderation)
* Coffee grounds
* Tea bags
* Human/pet waste
* Non biodegradable materials
* Harsh chemicals
Step 6: Repeat steps 4 & 5 at least three times -- creating a layered lasagna of bedding and food scraps -- and allow the mixture to stew for 1 to 2 weeks before adding worms.
So, that's where we are right now. We're stewing. In the laundry room. And the kids are not totally grossed out, but they have asked us not to mention our new farming venture to any of their friends ... or their friends' parents ... or anyone who might possibly know their friends' parents.
So, yeah, basically - we're covert worm farmers and we're loving it!