My latest batch of “homemade manure” – yummy, yummy (for worms)!
It’s been quite some time since I’ve made any mention of my “homemade manure” concept (for those of you unfamiliar with the term, be sure to check out these blog posts: “Homemade Manure” & “Homemade Manure Mania“).
Just as a review, the basic idea here is that I am attempting to create a nutritious “homemade” material that provides all (or at least most) of the great benefits offered by some (aged) livestock manure (of course, not all manures are created equal). In my mind, an ideal worm food provides a well-balanced nutritional profile (thus encouraging the development of a diverse microbial population), while also providing some “structure” and the oxygen-availability that goes along with it (i.e. we don’t want a big, gooey, anaerobic mess).
The first time around, I was using a LOT of food waste – material I spent many hours blending up, I might add! While it was certainly fantastic stuff, my time is definitely a lot more valuable than that (spending a morning producing a tub of worm food just doesn’t cut it). As such, this time I decided to use poultry feed as the primary “food” component. For the “structure”, water-retention, and C:N balance, I used multiple types of “bedding”: shredded cardboard (and brown paper), fall leaves, and coco coir. To kickstart the microbial community, I mixed in some molasses and also added a scoopful of compost ecosystem material at the end.
Here are the photos to basically show the process of creating my latest batch of homemade manure:
I filled the tub about half full with shredded cardboard then added lots of water (all said and done, it was probably around 2 or 3 gallons
After mixing/soaking cardboard & paper, I added some molasses
Next, some fall leaves I had on-hand
A few scoops of poultry feed
Some coconut coir to soak up liquid pooling in bottom
Scoopful of “compost ecosystem”
Homemade manure, all ready for chow time!
Adding homemade manure to winter worm windrow
As you can see, I decided to use the material right away in my big outdoor bed. I will likely make a few more batches of the stuff to REALLY help kick that system into overdrive in time for spring!
I am happy to report that making this time of homemade manure took far less time (would have been even faster if I had had the shredded cardboard all ready to go) since it was just a matter of mixing everything up.
I am very interested to see how the worms respond! I’ll certainly provide a follow-up at some point.