Homeschooling: It's not what we do, it's how we live.

Vermicomposting: Our Worm Bin

Last summer, we ate fresh cherries like they were candy. I kept a bunch of the seeds, and the seeds from several other fruits that we eat frequently with the intention of planting them to see if they’ll grow. Some seeds from store-bought fruit, I’ve heard, are bred so as not to grow from those seeds. I guess we’ll see if that’s true or not in these cases. I planted cherries, oranges and grapefruit. I really need to get some lemon seeds.

I’ve also been using peat pockets to start seeds in, but that can get expensive. I remember seeing seed cup makers last year and decided to try improvising one since I’m cheap and don’t want to fork over cash for something I can do with materials on-hand. I used half-sheets of paper (old bank statements, damp) and a medicine bottle. I wrapped the paper around the tube, then crushed the bottom down on the kitchen counter to make the cup. Mine are not as ‘neat’ or as uniform as the ones made with the tool, but it worked quite well. You could also use egg shells or a cardboard egg container, toilet paper rollers (or any cardboard rollers) in a tray, or use origami techniques to make a biodegradable cup from a sheet of newspaper. I like these because they can be planted as-is – no need for de-potting and disrupting the roots (helpful with kids, since the transplantation process is stressful for the plants, and kids can be stressful for baby plats, too).

When we went out to fill my new little seed cups, I started noticing all these baby earthworms in my bag of soil. So I grabbed a small plastic bin, popped some holes in the bottom and added some bedding (damp, shredded paper), a couple of cups of soil and then started picking through the soil and putting the baby wigglers into the bin. I counted over a hundred babies and I’m sure there are more. I covered the bin with a bigger plastic basket (to let air through) and set the whole container in a crate. I’m excited to see if my little worm bin will flourish!

I’ve been wanting a worm bin for a while; if this one works out, then I may make a multi-level wooden bin system with screens to help with the harvesting process. SFK has a great system (cough*that she should totally blog about *cough) that I am rather envious of. I’ll probably still end up getting a pound or so of red wigglers; I have a sneaking suspicion that these babies are European nightcrawlers (which are the ‘regular’ earthworms that we have in TX). I found a website called Texas Red Worms that has quite a bit of info on vermicomposting and he uses both red wigglers and E. nightcrawlers. Whatever kind they are, I’m sure that they’ll produce lovely, rich castings and possibly some nice worm tea that will be perfect for helping our little seedlings flourish.

Speaking of gardens, have you seen the living wall system for vertical gardening? I’ve never heard of this, but it looks really interesting. I found a slideshow at Environmental Graffiti that showcases some awesome living buildings and indoor farm concepts. I also was quite impressed by jeremusic’s vertical garden tutorial series. He shows the progress his vertical flower garden on his balcony makes from inception to flourishing – it’s really inspirational! Here are some other super cool green wall projects: India: Vertical Garden and hiphophagy’s DIY Patrick Blanc style green wall video and blog. I don’t know if we’ll make one, but I love how the walls look!

Have a great weekend!




6 responses

  1. Good luck with your worm bin. Last year we got worm cocoons and hatched them it was so fun. Also there are some neat worm experiments you can do with light if you look on the web:)

    March 12, 2011 at 2:15 am

    • Oh, that sounds fun – I didn’t realize you could order them as cocoons. I’ll look for the experiments. Thanks, Anna-Marie!

      March 13, 2011 at 4:04 pm

  2. We just made a worm farm for school 🙂 It was tons of fun, hope your worm bin does well!

    March 12, 2011 at 5:32 am

  3. Love your cuneiform tablets, Jen! Thanks for commenting 🙂

    March 13, 2011 at 4:03 pm

  4. You guys have been busy busy lately. I am so glad you guys finally took the plunge and made the bin you have been wanting to do. How is it doing so far?

    March 23, 2011 at 9:42 pm

    • So far, so good – still lots of baby worms. I’m having trouble keeping it moist… any tips?

      March 24, 2011 at 1:01 pm

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