Question from Ken:
Hello-live in a semi-rural location in Oregon. Have the cat wastes, with biodegradable litter, in an outdoor wooden sided bin. Would like to try worms.
What should we do to make the bin more attractive to worms? If we purchase worms, do I just dump the worms on top of the pile?
I’ve worked a fair bit with biodegradable cat litters, and can confirm that vermicomposting these wastes is indeed possible. But there are definitely some nuances (to put it mildly). The big challenge is almost always going to be ammonia release. Worms are extremely sensitive to this gas (it kills them at very low levels), and as I’m sure you know, the amounts wafting off of used cat litter can be enough make your nose hurt and eyes water.
SO…it is going to be important for there to be a pretty decent aging/composting period before worms get involved (i.e. absolutely don’t add them straight to the system). It sounds like you have actually been depositing the wastes in your bin for a period of time – so perhaps there are indeed zones further down where the worms would be ok.
Regardless, my advice would be to (more…)
A great question from Marie:
I used to do worm composting when I lived in Washington state. Now that I have moved to Arizona, and it is approaching summer, I am concerned about temperatures too hot for worms. I don’t have space to keep a bin inside, so that isn’t an option. I was thinking of using a container garden that I built using large concrete blocks. (The rectangular kind with two big holes in them that are used for walls). It is 2 feet x 6 feet wide, and 2 feet deep. It is shaded during quite a bit of the day by a large citrus tree. It gets regular water through a drip irrigation system. I was going to use a thick layer of pine needles to cover the top and encourage the worms to move deep into the center of the bin. Do you think that this would work?
Thank you for your expertise!
You are 100% correct in assuming that outdoor vermicomposting during an Arizona summer will likely be very challenging. But the good news is that the idea you shared sounds very much on target in terms of the sort of system that could potentially work!
For the benefit of others reading, I am going to start by laying some groundwork based on what we are dealing with here. To be honest, I don’t really know how hot it can get during an Arizona summer, but I’m am going to guess that 100+ F is pretty common over the course of several months.
Short of setting up some sort of (more…)
Warm weather has been very slow to arrive this spring, but it is finally feeling like we’re almost into “gardening season” here in Southern Ontario. Yesterday I decided to spend some time with my vermicomposting planter.
First order of business was to clean it up a bit – pull out all the dead plants (along with some dead asparagus folliage in the garden out behind while I was at it! lol).
The structure itself looks to be (more…)
My last Tea Bag Vermicomposting update was in late February. Until yesterday, the system just sat without any additional tea bag deposits.
As you can see in the image below, the worms just continued to process what was in the bin, and the overall (more…)
Things have continued to chug along with my Urban Worm Bag in the (nearly) 3 weeks since my last update.
I actually didn’t end up adding any food during this period – until today (more on that in a minute). This is one part “laziness” (aka focus on other things), and one part limited supply. It has become pretty clear that the system could easily handle our total kitchen scrap waste stream, and then some.
I’ve used up the bags of frozen scraps I had in my basement freezer, so now it is a matter of waiting until my holding bin (under sink) is full, letting the scraps freeze for a period of time, thawing them out, then feeding.
From a waste-handling perspective, I suppose it’s one of those “good problems to have”.
The worm zone currently feels pretty overloaded with (more…)
Back in January (2018) I was doing some research for an eBook focused on the topic of worm castings.
As you might guess (based on the title of this post), my aim was to help people optimize the vermicomposting process and produce higher quality castings even more quickly.
I was making my way through back issues of (the now defunct) “Castings Call” periodical when I came across a single sentence that completely stopped me in my tracks!
|“A reasonable population of worms can turn a pile of waste into vermicompost in 7 to 10 days.”|
I re-read the sentence. I scribbled it down. I underlined it.
I didn’t know if I should be (more…)