Ever since emptying out my wooden backyard worm bin it has been sitting empty…well, sort of. After a little while I started basically using it as a cardboard storage bin! I have stacks upon stacks of cardboard coffee trays (thanks to the efforts of my wife’s helpful co-workers), and the sheer quantity of them taking up space in my house and in the shed was starting to become a wee bit aggravating (sad, but true – haha).
It didn’t take long to essentially forget about the contents of the bin (out of sight out of mind) while I was busy with my various gardening projects, but I was reminded once again when I was faced with the task of cleaning out a plastic garbage can containing old brown paper yard waste bags that has been sitting open on my deck since last fall! Needless to say, there was a lot of stinky stagnant water in there (perhaps the rotting potatoes that somehow found there way in there contributed? haha), and of course the stinky, soaked yard bags. Just as a funny aside, I also found at least one or two fat Red Worms living semi-submerged in the upper zones of the soggy paper bags! They never cease to amaze me I tell ya.
While thinking of a good place to dump most of the water and compost the wet bags, I suddenly remembered my stash of (essentially dry) cardboard in the wooden bin. And thus, my “cardboard ‘n’ coffee vermicomposting” project was born!
The first thing I did was pull apart a bunch of the coffee tray stacks (i.e. separate the trays from one another), although I did end up leaving plenty of stacks as-is, simply because I didn’t have the time to do them all. My aim was to provide a lot more surface area for soaking up moisture and worm/microbe habitat.
Next I simply dumped in the wet contents of the garbage can, potatoes at all!
I then added a bunch of aged, used coffee grounds, some vermicompost and some rock dust for good measure.
Finally, I gave everything a good soaking so as to help get the ball rolling!
I don’t have any formal plans for this experiment – just going to fly by the seat of my pants as per usual. My main aim is to see what the composting critters can do with all this cardboard by the time late fall rolls around. While I’ll almost certainly add more grounds along the way, I am using them more as a water-holding filler (and N-source), so I won’t go too crazy with them. I may however add lots of old coffee filters.
Other than that, I will likely just water the system periodically and see how everything is coming along down below!
Should be interesting.