Worm Composting!

We're about two-weeks into a trial of the new continuous-flow indoor worm composter I built for our red wiggler compost worms. Seems to be working well! Our goal is to get to a point where we're composting 100% of our food waste (except fish and meat-related scraps), and to use the rich vermicompost for our garden. It's all about transforming our waste stream from something that contributes to landfills and climate change (when food rots anaerobically in landfills, it can produce methane, a potent greenhouse gas), into a nutrient stream that helps produce food in our garden, and keeps our indoor plants healthy!

It's also an important part of our efforts to go "plastic-free" by cutting-out the need for garbage liners (more on that in a future post, let's just say it involves a documentary and a one-year commitment...we're excited and a little nervous!).

The plans for the continuous flow composter, which I modified very slightly to make it longer and wider, are easy to follow and available on instructables here (amazing site!), c/o Amy Youngs. Ms. Youngs is an Ohio-based artist and Associate Professor of Art at Ohio State University. She does cool stuff with "bioart" including this "digestive table" which was the creative spark for the more hardy "worm bag" that our composter is based on.

The idea behind this design is that the worms will stay near the top of the bag, where the food is, and the finished compost gravitates towards the bottom of the bag, where a tie string can be undone, emptying the compost into the blue bin. And this isn't just any compost, this is vermicompost, richer and higher in plant-beneficial microbes and nutrients than regular compost. You can even make a tea from the stuff and spray it directly onto plants to improve their growth and repel pests.

Best of all, the design is unobtrusive and with the natural wood and glass lid, even kind of attractive. I'll update you on our trial as we get closer to harvesting our first compost.

In the meantime, if you're interested in trying worm composting yourself, the City of Vancouver sells plastic composting bins and offers quick trainings at the compost demonstration garden, operated by City Farmer. When it comes time to buy worms, the man with the best prices, the best worms and the best advice in town, is Bintoro Gunadi (a very friendly man, who loves his worms and knows them inside out...he's got a PhD in soil ecology).

As for worm composting itself, I've only been doing it for a couple months now, but I gotta say, I love the little critters  - they're like pets, and I find myself looking at our food scraps post-dinner and thinking, "What will they find the tastiest?" Truth is, they like a lot of things, and are prolific eaters. They need to be fed at least once a week.

Here wormy, wormy!