Friday, March 11, 2011

Still thinking and reading about vermicomposting

Life has a way of throwing a wrench into your plans. Not only has it snowed again this week, but my basement sump pump isn't working correctly (plugged / frozen discharge line) so my basement got flooded from the already saturated soil behind the house. It seems that all of my free time has been spent using a secondary portable sump pump and garden hose to pump out the root cellar and window wells several times a day. Evening activities with the kids for school or boy scouts (I'm a scout leader) also fills up my schedule. That doesn't mean that I haven't been thinking and dreaming about my worm bin project.

I found a great blog about vermicomposting at which is also a good source for purchasing worms as long as you are looking for a large quantity. (A single pound of redworms is $35 while ten pounds is $180, only $18 per pound including shipping!) The best price that I could find locally was $25 per pound plus tax and driving one way about an hour. I have figured out that my little five gallon bucket bin works fine with a handful of earthworms but to consume the large amount of food scraps that our family of eight produces, we'll need about ten pounds of redworms and a more shallow bin with larger surface area. (Earthworms do fine in deeper bins, but don't thrive in this environment) I think that something this size would make a better fit as part of the outdoor landscape next to the garden, chickens, and rabbits. Besides, the resulting compost will be used in the garden anyway so that seems to be a natural fit. Once I figure out what kind of bin to make that will fit that criteria, I'll start building it and place my order for worms. (They have several great ideas for bins at this site too) I'm leaning towards a large wooden bin, but I want to research more about how it handles during hot, summer temperatures and if there are issues with ants or other critters getting into the bin. I'm hoping that it if set it into the ground with a styrofoam insulated lid, it will be protected enough to do well year round.

That said, it may be a few weeks before I can start on the worm bin. The weather forecast is looking good so a permanent solution to the basement flooding will preempt most other projects. That will be such a relief to get fixed once and for all!

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