Most people with any amount of awareness of the world realize the need to reduce, reuse and recycle. Anyone that doesn’t thing there is a need to reduce what we put in landfills is either completely out of touch or just plain lazy. The trick for the rest of us is that we all live very busy lives. So much so that it’s hard to find time to change our routines unless someone makes it easy or fun.
Many waste companies and town sanitations offer curb side pick up of co-mingled recyclable items. What could be easier right? It seems like everytime I turn around there is something new that my trash company will accept in the recycling bin. A year or two ago they gave all of us recycling bins that are the same size as my trash can. In recent weeks I’ve started to notice my recycling bin is full and there is plenty of space in my trash bin. That is great. Of course that gets me to thinking, what else can I keep out of the trash can?
So this is where worm composting comes in. Think of all the food that you throw away each week. It’s probably the majority of the remaining items in my trash can. The worms in my wormery will eat most of that. Anything that is vegetation can now go into your worm bin instead of being thrown out. Sure you might say, well all that material will decompose relatively quick in the landfill, and you are right, at least compared to a plastic bottle. But landfills are very full and if you can keep materials out of them you should do it. Even though it decomposses “quickly” it still is going to take years, and if you think of all the homes that your landfill is getting trash from you can solve a lot of the space issues if you take all that material out of play.
Now your trash company is still going to come to your house every week so they are going to burn that gas either way. But if you can reduce the weight of what you are throwing away, you can reduce the weight of what they need to haul to the landfill. Less weight in the truck is a little less gas they’ll burn along the way. Every little bit helps. It’s just like the marginal savings in electricity changes you make in your house. Individually they aren’t that much but if everyone starts doing it, it can really add up.
Now let’s take it to the next logical step. Let’s say you don’t just get into worm composting to reduce the amount of items you throw away. Let’s say you are interested in the compost and compost tea which are the natural by products produced by the worms (typically red wiggler worms). A wormery will produce some of the best compost that you can use. Much better then the commerical stuff you buy in stores. So now you have a back yard garden which you grow you own food with the compost from your own worm bin. You don’t go to the store to buy as much food and you aren’t throwing any of it away anymore. You are buying local and throwing away local as well! And you are saving the pertroleum that would have been used in the fertilizer that you would have used in your back yard garden and getting better results. (Check back next spring/summer when I am going to do some testing with some plants to compare results with red wiggler compost, commerical fertilzer, and a control plant. I’m really looking forward to it, shoudl be pretty interesting!)
Recycling Paper Home
One other perk for a worm bin at home is that you are going to use up some of the paper you would have gotten rid of as well. Now hopefully you would have been recycling this paper any way, but this way it doesn’t have to be hauled to a location to be processed. For the best results try to use black and white newsprint.
Recycling Plastic Home
You can also recycle some plastic as well when you set up your wormery. You are going to need a bin. Typically people will use a good sized Rubbermaid bin, which it would be nice if you could repurpose something instead of running out and buying one. If this is your first try at a wormery at your house you might consider purchasing a kit. These kits are set up to get your started quickly and handle many if not all of the common pitfalls you will run into. So far my favorite kit is the Worm Factory 360 because it is such a nice setup.
The best part about getting into worm composting is that it is fun and easy. You buy a kit and can set it all up in about a half an hour. Then every night after dinner (or any meal) just add your leftovers to the bin. After about 90 days or so you’ll have a great batch of compost which you can add right to your plants, then just start adding your food again and get the next batch going. See, worm composting is easy and fun so it is something you’ll be able to stick to. Do you part, save money, and help save the world!
A compost tea brewer is a a setup that will create a liquid that can be used to fertilize plants or spray on leaves. This the the same compost tea that comes out of your wormery. I like to joke with my kids that it is the worm pee, but it really is much more then that. It’s basically a product of decomposition and is full of nutrients that you plants need to flourish. If you pour some on one plant and not on the other on a regular basis you will see a noticeable difference in growth.
DIY Compost Tea Brewer
Reason 1: One great reason to want a compost tea brewer is that you can make one out of simple parts by yourself in your garage or basement. This is great because you can get into it without laying out a lot of money. See if it works for you and if you like it. Then if it is for you and you want to increase production then you can either build a new setup with additional knowledge or decide to buy a professional rig. I also like the DIY aspect because making a homemade compost tea brewer is a great project to do with my kids who find it interesting and fun.
Garden Compost Tea Brewer 5 Gal Maker
Reason 2: Another great reason to want a compost tea brewer is that it is pretty easy to find pre-packaged kits for sale online. If you don’t want to mess with building it with homemade parts then you can go online and find a kit which will be quick and will deal with many of the pitfalls that can trip up beginners. The most common kit that new comers go with is the 5 gallon kit. Its a good entry level size and gets you going. As you move up and are willing to spend more money you can get bigger and bigger kits as large and 1,000 gallon that are typically used by farmers.
Worm Tea Brewer
Reason 3: A third great reason to want a compost tea brewer is that you can have the best of both worlds when it comes to work composting and compost tea. It really is going to depend on what you are after. If it’s the compost that you really want then worm composting is for you. If you are really moreso looking to get the compost tea then a compost tea brewer is for you. But you really don’t have to choose. I personally like to just set up a wormery and let the worm make my compost. At the same time as the process really gets going then the compost tea will start flowing out the bottom (depending on which kind of setup you have it’ll either collect in the lid of a Rubbermaid container or collect in a catch basic of a pro kit (like in the Worm Factory 360).
Compost Tea Brewer Plans
Reason 4: Another great reason to want a compost tea brewer is that if you do want to make one your self, DIY style, then you can find some great plans online to get you started. So instead of just trying to figure out how to build one by reading some text, you can download (there are free plans and ones you have to pay for) them and have a really good idea of what you need to do. This way when you build your own compost brewer you hopefully won’t make the same mistakes that many others have made in the past.
Compost Tea Catalyst
Reason 5: The final reason to want a compost tea brewer is that you can (and really need to) add a catalyst to stimulate diverse microbial growth during aerated compost tea production. What does that mean? In simple terms it means you don’t have to go it alone. So you add some catalyst to get it going and then let it go and it’ll greatly increase the tea production. Keep in mind when you are looking for good catalyst that not all catalyst is made equally. Do some searching around for price and quality. I personally like to see catalyst made from only organic materials and then I key in on price from there.
So whether you decide to make your own compost tea brewer or purchase a kit online you will be doing your plants a big favor. Like I say I personally prefer to go with a wormery and get the tea on the process but I’m a worm guy 🙂
I’ll soon by ordering a wormery kit and get it set up in my basement to do some product testing. My current plan is to set one up with red wigglers and on with earth worms. The red wigglers I’ll be doing some additional testing to see what effect their compost and tea has on plants as compared to untreated plants. The earthworms are more for my kids who like to use them when they go fishing, but I’m always looking for more good compost so it’s a win-win.
Maybe once I’ve played around with my red wigglers and earthworms I’ll give straight compost tea a shot as well and do similar research.
Make sure to check back often as I’ll be posting the results of my wormery research.
The Worm Factory 360 is a specific product sold to be a complete kit for worm composting. I’ve set up a basic plastic bins in the past and while they work well there are a few draw backs. The two largest drawbacks I found were separating the worms from the finished compost and dealing with the moisture run off. I had my plastic bin worm composter set up in my basement and did put a lid under it to catch the moister. However by the time it was planting season the lid was just about full to the top. So of course as I carried it outside I spilled much of the compost tea on my basement floor and on my clothes. I also decided it was going to be so troublesome to try to fish out all the worms (pun intended) from the compost that I ended up just releasing them all into my garden. They helped my garden greatly but this season as I prepare for another great batch of worm compost I’m going to have to purchase new worms to start over.
With the Worm Factory 360 these two large issues are completely solved. The Worm Farm 360 as it is also known is a stack-able system of trays with grids for bottoms. So you fill the first tray with organic matter and worms. As it gets full you just place the next tray on top of it and put the lid on the new tray. Because you will only be adding new organic matter to the upper tray the red wiggler worms will start migrating through the grid to the upper tray. You just continue this process until you have all four trays filled. When you get to this point all the worms should be out of the bottom tray. You then remove the bottom tray and use the wonderful compost in your garden or house plants. After you have emptied it just place it back as the new top tray and start adding your organic material to it. Just continue this process over and over indefinitely also removing the bottom worm free tray of compost.
The worm factory 360 also takes care of the troublesome compost tea as well. It sits up on four legs and has a catch basin at the bottom where the compost tea will collect. There is a spigot on the front like you would see on a jug of iced tea. All you have to do is periodically open the spigot and run off some of the valuable liquid into a container. It is full of nutrients that you plants will love so make sure to add it right to the soil.
If you’d like to see a short clip that explains even more check out the following:
There are many Worm Factory 360 reviews to check out here as well (look for the link to customer reviews):
There are even Worm Factory 360 Instructions printed right on the lid so you can always reference them easily if you have any questions. The Worm Factory 360 really has done a great job to set everything up so that you can take it out of the box and be set up and running within minutes. And once you are set up and running it’ll be a pain free process that can continue with very little effort for as long as you choose to do it.
In the coming weeks I’ll be ordering a new Worm Factory 360 and I’ll document here my experience and give you a running update of pictures and statistics so you can see what you can expect. Make sure you check back and follow my progress. Ideally I’m thinking I’ll carry the process right through to planting some vegetables next spring as well. I’ll plant two identically plants with the only difference being one I’ll add the compost from my Worm Factory 360 and the other I’ll just add soil. I might even do a third which I add commercial fertilizer too as well. Then we can really see the benefits of this whole process, in addition to the positive impact on the environment of course.
Are you looking for some facts about Red Wigglers? Let’s start with what a Red Wiggler is…It’s a breed of worm similar to an Earth Worm like you would usual use for fishing bait. They are a little smaller though and a little more red. They are very popular because many people use them for indoor composting to create fertilizer.
One pound of Red Wiggler is approximately 1,000 worms. That 1,000 worms can each about a half pound of organic table scraps per day. They will eat most anything that is plant based. Everything from apple and banana peels, to left over salad, to coffee grinds and left over tea bags. Keep in mind they don’t like spicy items, onions, and salad dressing (although a little salad dressing from left overs is fine).
After about 90 days in an average sized bin you’ll have some of the best compost you’ve ever seen. Add it to your indoor potted plants, your flowers, or you backyard garden and watch you plants take off.
Red Wiggles also make great fishing bait. They are a bit smaller then typical earth worm bait worms, but can be great for Trout fishing. Don’t worry that you are cutting into your population of compost creators because they tend to reproduce at a feverish pace. When conditions are right (temperature, space, and food supply) you find that they’ll double in number every 90 days or so. They like to be between 50 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Don’t worry that you’ll run out of room in your bin either. They’ll tend to reproduce based on the the room they have available. As they start to run out of room and/or roof they’ll start to slow their reproduction.
So get a wormery set up and get your Red Wiggles going. You’ll be happy, your Red Wiggles will be happy, your plants will be happy, and your family will be happy. Enjoy!
Compost Turners are a great option for creating backyard compost from your yard waste and kitchen scraps. Compost turners and tumblers are often used interchangeably. Basically they are a bin which will hold your compost and can be easily turned by hand to help periodically mix and aerate your scrapes so that they will compost quicker.
These compost turners come in many shapes and sizes. You can buy them or take some time and make a homemade one. Basically once you set it up your are going to fill it up with your scrapes (think of grass clipping, leaves, vegetable scrapes, crushed egg shells, used coffee and tea, etc). Then ever day or so give it a turn. This is going to help break down the scrapes. It also is going to let air get into the mix which will compost things more quickly. This is going to make some of the best compost/fertilizer you’ve ever seen!
There are also products that are sold which you can add to your turned to help speed up the composting as well and increase it’s quality. There are products that you can buy in a bad and you’ll add some when you first fill your compost turner and put in a little more each time you add something to your compost turner.
Compost Turner not only great great compost for your garden but they also are great for the environment. Not only are you going to throw away less but you’ll be keeping those nutrients in your back yard instead of sending them all over the world in your trash. Also the less you buy the more money you’ll save and less that needs to be produces which also saves the plant. Not to mention that you’ll be creating all organic compost which is good for everyone! Enjoy!
Backyard composting can be great but how would you like to have some of the best and most productive compost there is? If so you need to look into Worm Composting. You can put your Red Wiggles to work making great compost for you year round no matter what climate you live in because you can keep them in a bin in your basement.
You can buy kits that will include everything you need, or you can do it yourself with basic materials for less then $20. All you’ll need is a plastic bin, newspaper, a scoop of dirt, some Red Wiggles, and a steady flow of organic table scraps. Just drill some holes in the top of your bin for air. Then tear the newspaper into strips and dunk them in water. Ring them out and crumple them up and fill the bin 2/3 of the way. Add your scoop of dirt anywhere in the bin, and put in your worms (it is best to start with between 1000 and 5000 worms). Then each day put your table scraps in the bin below the surface of newspaper. They will eat half their body weight each day and 1000 Red Wiggles weigh one pound. So for each 1000 Red Wiggles in your bin you’ll need to add 1/2 pound of food per day.
After about 90 days you bin will be full of the best compost you’ve ever seen. Add it to potted plants, flowers, or your back yard garden and watch your plants take off! And don’t worry about a foul odor either. The Red Wigglers eat the bacteria that can occur from food that rots. It’ll basically be foul odor free. If you do notice a smell from your bin it likely means you are adding more food then they can eat. Give it a couple days for the Red Wiggles to catch up and eat what you’ve all ready put in there. Then go back to adding food each day, just add a little less. In time you’ll be able add more because when conditions are right Red Wiggles can reproduce and double in numbers every 90 days.
If you are looking for a hobby that is good for the Earth, good for you, and fun for you whole family you should consider starting a wormery. If you’ve tried other ‘pets’ in the past and not had good luck this is for you. Red Wigglers are very low maintenance and very low cost. You can set up a wormery with everything you need including the worms for less then $20.
Red Wigglers are the best breed of worm for a home wormery. All you need to do is drill some holes in a medium/large bin (for air holes) and fill it with moist news paper strips (they should be as wet as a wrung out sponge). Fill the bin 2/3 of the way with this crumpled wet newspaper. Then add your worms which you can buy online. They’ll also need a small scoop of dirt from your yard which they’ll use to help digest their food. They will eat half of their body weight in organic table scraps per day. There are about 1000 Red Wiggles in 1 pound. So for each pound of Red Wigglers in your bin you’ll need to add 1/2 pound of food per day.
Having a wormery is great for the environment. Instead of throwing away all your table scraps your worms will eat them. This will at the very least mean less weight on the garbage truck and less gas burned. Also the worm castings (what comes out the back-end of the worm) make excellent fertilizer. The combination of those castings and the newspaper they don’t eat after about three months will make the best compost you’ll ever have. Put it on the potted plants, your flowers, or your backyard garden and watch you plants take off! And since you are using organic compost in your backyard garden it’s much more health for you.
The best part for me in having a wormery in my basement is the enjoyment for my family. I have two young sons and they loved the whole process. They loved drilling the holes in the bin. They loved ripping up the newspaper and dunking in water. They couldn’t wait for the worms to come in the mail and put them in. And of course they love when Mom gives them the nights scraps to take down and put in the wormery. Also they love grabbing a few to take fishing now and again as well (not to worry when conditions are right your Red Wiggles will reproduce and double in number every 90 days or so).