Walnut Shell Vermicomposting?
Another “zipper bag worm bin” experiment I’ve decided to try is a system using walnut shells as a primary bedding (and maybe even food eventually) material.
I’ve been eating more nuts as part of an overall “improve my health” (which is just fine – thanks for asking – but there is always room for improvement) plan, and walnuts have become a favorite. The ones with shells on them are naturally the cheapest at the store – and in my humble opinion, the quality of the nuts inside is better – so those are the ones I tend to gravitate towards.
Being the worm-head that I am, seeing all the walnut shells piling up in my kitchen scrap bags got me wondering how they would break down (how fast etc etc) in a vermicomposting system…and that got me thinking it might be fun to test them out as a primary system material.
Obviously, like many nut shells, these things are pretty tough and resistant – almost certainly on the high end of the C:N scale. So, I’m not expecting them to get converted into beautiful worm castings in no time flat – that’s for sure.
Still, my hunch is that they will likely break down a lot more quickly than something like wood chips. And I suspect they will have some other components (eg nut fragments) that will add additional nutrition.
Whatever the case may be, it should be interesting!
All I did to get things started was put some shredded corrugated cardboard down in the bottom of a plastic zipper bag (figure having a more absorbent false bottom is not a bad idea), added a small handful of dried beans, rice a barley along with a small amount of living material, before filling the bag almost to the top with walnut shells (+ fragments etc) that I’ve been collecting.
Lastly, I just sprayed everything down well (since the shells won’t really release moisture), closed the zipper about half way and then put on my seedling heating mat.
At this point I am just going to leave the system to brew for a while. I am interesting to see what sort of decomposition processes will get going (with the help of the extra warmth). Similar to my 4 Worm Zipper Bag project, I’ll likely wait (at least) 2 weeks before actually adding any worms.
Stay tuned! Lots more to come.