Back in January we began building a worm composting bin that would provide extra nutrients for our vegetable garden this summer. Really I wanted a source of compost that was ready to go in March that I could use for starting seeds indoors. I also thought this would provide a really good learning tool for children attending Eat, Grow Play Nature Camp in March about what compost is, how we can use worms to make it extra nutrient dense and how much fun gardening can be. My son Colin was all too happy to get out his tools that he has been collecting over the past year for his birthday and Christmas to lend a hand with this project. We chose to make a wooden box to increase the breathable quality of the box while adding a plastic lined bottom to cut down on wood rot.
Once the box was finished I used Kijiji to source a pound of red wiggler worms from a local farm. We just happened to have a friend over the evening when we gave these worms their new home. The boys helped to shred newspapers and spread a generous helping into the box along with some peat moss and ready compost for bedding for the worms.
When it was time to add the worms to the bin the boys squealed seeing so many worms wiggling around. Warning – there are a lot of worms!
It didn’t take long for that massive pile of worms to work their way down into the bedding below. This video was taken about 5 minutes later and you can see many of the worms have made or are very quickly making their way into darkness below.
We feed the worms every 3-4 days about a pound of fruit and vegetable scraps. Now that they have really settled in to their environment they seem to be working their way through their food source faster so I may be able to start feeding them more often. Sometimes I puree the scraps and it turns out looking like this. We add dried egg shells to to really increase the calcium content of the castings.
Here you can see what is left over from a piece of cantaloupe rind after the worms have eaten away all the pulp. When held up to light it is translucent enough to allow the light to shine through.
Now that the worm bin has been in operation for just over a month we have some worm castings ready to use for our vegetable transplants. I had harvested a handful of the castings a couple of weeks ago and placed it around the rosemary plant I have kept inside over winter. Two weeks later this plant is looking healthier than ever with new bright green, vigourous leaf growth at the tips of the branches. I can’t wait to see the difference this compost will make for our vegetable garden this year.
Here is a little video tour of the worms in action.