Vermicomposting Update

It's been one year since I posted about setting up our vermicomposting operation so I thought it would be a good time for an update. There are two large concrete bins inside the Worm Castle. The one not pictured, on the right, was filled with aged chicken manure. For what ever reason that didn't do so well. We added some horse manure and while it was a little slow to take off the compost turned out very nice. I harvested some of the compost from that bin and fed it to many of the plants in the garden.

The bin on the left (pictured here) was fed only vegetable scraps from the kitchen and amended with grass clippings and other plants. The worms seemed to really like this arrangement and went gang busters eating anything I could add. I am now only going to feed half of this bin and in a few months, when most of the worms have migrated to the food side of the bin, I will harvest from the other half.

To feed the worms I simply push aside the grass or what ever organic matter is not yet composted and add the vegetable scraps. In the beginning I was putting the kitchen scraps through the food processor in order to make the waste easier for the worms to eat. This turned out to be a lot of work on my part so I stopped doing that and instead cut any large pieces (such as pineapple skin) into one or two inch pieces. This seems to work just fine and saves me from having to clean the food processor. The picture to the right shows what the worm environment looks like underneath the cardboard and grass clippings. There are many other insects living with the worms in this ecosystem. Whenever I lift the cardboard hundreds of insects flee for cover. The cardboard and grass clippings are on top of the pile to provide darkness for the worms and to cut down on insects that would devour the vegetable waste if it was so easy to access.

To the left is a picture of the kitchen scraps added to the bin. After they area added I cover with grass clippings and the cardboard. I am very happy with this system. I don't worry about rodents getting into the compost piles to eat the kitchen scraps and the worms are creating some incredible fertilizer for the garden.