Thursday, January 27, 2011

Worm Bin Update: Migration Done Right

This worm bin project has been one of the most enjoyable (and luckily successful) garden experiments I've ever taken on! And after a bumbling attempt at bin migration last time , I finally got it right! It seems that you have to wait until both bins are full to harvest the castings from the bottom bin, otherwise you leave too many worms behind. So after separating the bins, here's my prize-a bin full of rich worm castings (a.k.a. poop! :)
There were a few wormies hanging out on top of this layer, but I dug around and found that none were below the surface. That's because I let the top bin get full and the bulk of the population are happily eating and residing up there. I gathered the stragglers and put them in the top bin...
.....which is resting here on the extra lid saved for this transition. I made these bins myself from the plans here , and it was really easy! You can certainly spend the $100 or so for a pre-made bin, but making my own was much more satisfying.

Next step is to remove the liquid from the bottom catch-bin. According to the folks in the "worm forums" and other informational websites , this liquid is called "leachate", and not as good for plants as "castings tea"  (but my plants didn't read this). I water my houseplants with this leachate and they seem to really enjoy it. Hey, the proof is in the results!
There! All put back together for now, I'll add the top bin soon to begin the migration process all over again. This bin is pretty large, so it sits in a spare room out of the way. It doesn't smell, gives me a place to toss veggie scraps year-round (when my outdoor composters are under snow), and provides an endless supply of fishing worms! (Shhhh....don't tell the worms about that part :)

If you've ever wanted to build your own bin, I say go for it! It's fun, easy, and educational for children ("vermicomposting" is a great science project). There are lots of great resources on the web, and I'm always happy to help in any way I can as an "experienced" worm-wrangler. (I've had this bin going since 2006 with just a few startup "blunders" :)

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Meh....I'm kinda off plants lately....

...."Really?!"  Naw Gizmo, I'm just kidding. I'm simply frustrated with my slow internet connection, and busy with other things lately. But I'm excited for the upcoming growing season...
 ....particularly since the catalogs have begun pouring in. I mean, just look at this purple swiss chard!
 Plus I still want to blog about last year's season! I'm just rather overwhelmed lately, so if you can just bear with me.....okay Bentley?
"Zzzzzzzzzz" .........I'll take that as a "yes".