For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Bentley (“Compost Guy”) Christie and I’ve been a crazed worm composting fanatic (or “vermiholic” if you prefer) for nearly 20 yrs now. I started this website back in 2007 with the simple intention of sharing my passion with the world. So far so good! Things have certainly progressed since the early days, though, and the website has provided me with an amazing opportunity to get to know a LOT of other “worm heads” from across North America and around the world!
I was recently thinking about the low costs associated with starting up a small worm farming business and the title of a book I really enjoyed – “The $100 Start-Up” (by Chris Guillebeau) – popped into my head and got me thinking.
What if someone handed me $100 and said “start up a worm farming business from scratch, and AT LEAST double or triple your money (earn back $200 or$300) within 2 months”.
Kind of a neat idea, but it didn’t take long for me to dismiss it as “too easy”. Even a basic worm re-selling strategy (buying in bulk then sell smaller amounts) could likely yield that sort of ROI.
OK…so what if it was only a $50 budget and I had to AT LEAST quadruple it (make $200) in 2 months?
Last month, after stumbling across a fascinating article I had shared on Facebook (several years before) about a winery using some sort of bio-filtration bed containing composting worms, I found myself completely immersed in the topic of “vermi-filtration” – with most of my attention on the work of a company called BioFiltro.
Back at the end of May I wrote about a new bin set up to test the viability of Comfrey as a sole worm food for Red Worms (see “Comfrey as Sole Food Source for Worms“).
[Just as a reminder, when I say “sole food source” it should be assumed that plenty of bedding materials will be added as well to help keep things balanced.]
As you can likely guess, this has been (and will likely continue to be) a very low key experiment. Comfrey can take some time to break down – even when chopped up – and it is not something I just want to keep piling into the bin, due to the nitrogen (and water) content.
Today is just about exactly 3 weeks from the start of the experiment (and nothing was (more…)
A common misconception people have (touched on in my recent “5 Great Reasons to Use Vermicomposting Trenches & Pits” post) is that these in-ground systems need to be massive, involving days of back-breaking labor.
I really want to hammer home that this is NOT necessarily the case at all! I’ve had a lot of fun with my own epic in-ground system adventures over the years, but it’s important for people to realize there are plenty of much easier options available! These are especially well-suited for those just starting out who want to test out these sorts of approaches without killing themselves (or taking up a lot of time) in the process.
Just for fun – and to illustrate my point – I decided to create a very simple pit garden a few days ago. It was based on one of the ideas I shared in the Trench Vermicomposting course, but not quite as involved (we’ll come back to what I mean by this a bit further along).
I was recently digging through past posts on the RWC Facebook page (trying to find something I had remembered posting, and wanted to review) when I stumbled across another really interesting posting from a few years ago. It was a link for an article on “The Guardian” website entitled: California winery hires earthworms to clean up its wastewater, and I’m sure it must be the most “liked” and “shared” posting on the RWC FB page.
I can definitely see why!
The article describes the advanced bio-filtration process adopted by Fetzer Winery in California to handle their wastewater – one that relies on the use of a gigantic vermicomposting bed. According to the author, 14 gallons of water are used to produce a single glass of wine (most of it used for cleaning purposes)! The usual way of dealing with all this nutrient-rich effluent is to (more…)
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, or are fairly new to the Red Worm Composting website, you’ll likely know that I’m more than a little passionate about the topic of vermicomposting trenches.
This is an approach that has truly had a massive impact on my vermicomposting journey, and even my life as a whole!
Earlier in the spring I had the honor of being able to share a (~ 50 minute) vermi-trench presentation at the Homegrown Food Summit, and was blown away by all the positive feedback. Clearly this is a topic of interest for a lot of people.
More recently, I (finally) released the early edition of my new course, Trench Vermicomposting – and I can’t tell you how excited I am about that as well.
So what exactly is the BIG deal about this type of vermicomposting system anyway?
Well, firstly – I want to make something very clear. I know (more…)
I vermicompost within a 500 square ft apartment and have been considering adding another bin. I often wonder if indoor vermicomposting has an impact on indoor air quality. After all it relies on decomposition and molds to break down food… I would be interested in hearing your thoughts on this… Thanks!
This is a very interesting question, and – like my responses to so many other questions relating to this quirky field of endeavor, I have to say…it depends!
Firstly, I will say that (in my humble opinion) a well-managed worm bin – or even multiple systems – shouldn’t create any air quality issues at all! If you consider the sort of decomposition processes that take place in say a forest, for example – there’s virtually no way that would ever be a hazard (unless you have some sort of allergy, which we will come back to in a minute). If anything, that sort of earthy-smelling decomposition would likely be good for you!
So what does “well-managed” mean?
In basic terms, you should have a system containing (more…)