Life without Plastic

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Getting Smart With Worm Bin Composting

The links in the post below may be affiliate links that support our current homesteading needs and the cost of building this business at no additional cost to you! We try to support small business owners on Etsy and Ebay sellers first, and then bigger companies that offer the most zero waste products. Read the full disclosure to learn more and find out what your purchases are supporting. 

Picture this: A composting system that you can use indoors or outside, requires no turning, and composts in a few weeks rather than a year. If this sounds like a dream come true, then say buh-bye to stinky garbage and hello to vermicomposting!

Vermicomposting goes by different names. It is also referred to as a worm farm and worm bin composting. Worm bin composting is the magic of Nature's recycling program. By feeding your little quiet colony the food scraps you would normally haul to the trash can: you create compost, you save money on trash bags you don't have to buy anymore, and you save your time hauling stinky trash. No more veggie scraps means no more vegetable scrap smells in your trash cans.

The best part about worm bin systems is they can go indoors or outdoors, so they can be in apartments, under a desk at work, in houses, closets, basements, garages, or outdoors (with proper temperature variations). You can set a worm bin close to your kitchen, so you can drop in your food scraps as you make them.

Now that you know how awesome worm bins are, let's go learn how to start & use a worm bin-

1. First you need to figure out how many composting worms your family needs to keep your food scraps in check. Next, make/buy and assemble a worm bin. The video below shows how to set up the worm bin our family is currently using made from 100% recycled plastic. It's what we can afford and works well. The only differences between our assembly and the video below are: we keep the drainage cloth in, we put the extra trays aside for easier worm feeding and management, and we put the bottom in a container so that any leaks are caught.

2. Purchase the composting worms, not regular earthworms. Composting worms are better at breaking down food scraps and earthworms are better at breaking down things that are already decomposting. Composting worms are called red wigglers or redworms. We bought from this colony and love their little efforts.

3. Fill the bottom feeding tray of your worm bin with 2-4 sheets of dry paper or a piece of cardboard. (non-glossy junk mail works great for this).

4. When your worms arrive, spread damp (just wet enough to have water come out with squeezing, no more or less) shredded paper, decayed leaves or grasses  (not green), or compost for worm bedding on top of the paper.

5. Check moisture levels and adjust accordingly. Gently empty bag of worms on top of the bedding. Cover with a piece of damp paper and let worms adjust by maintaining the dampness with water for the first week or so. (They eat the paper scraps, so you aren't starving them.)

6. Once the worms are adjusted and starting to break down the bedding, add one handful of (preferably chopped small) food scraps in the corner of the worm bed. Acceptable food scraps are: vegetable scraps, low-acid fruits, egg shells, coffee grounds and filters, grains, and starches. You can also add shredded paper, natural fabric, sawdust, cardboard, hair, and decayed leaves/grasses. Mix the food scraps with the bedding. Cover the bedding and food with the damp paper again.

7.  Watch your worms acclimate to their environment and adjust accordingly. Add more food scraps when they have eaten about half of the scraps and bedding. You don't want anything to rot, smell, and attract pests.

8. Add another tray when the first tray is 2/3 full. If you have any issues, here are some articles for troubleshooting issues. We've had our bin for over a year and a half, and the only problem we had was gnats once. We checked out the manual that came with our bin and were able to solve the gnat problem quickly. These are the easiest "livestock"/pets we've ever had and they make "trash" into compost!

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How do you compost? Let us know in the comments below!

Monday, September 18, 2017

Podcast: Episode 004

The links in the post below may be affiliate links that support our current homesteading needs and the cost of building this business at no additional cost to you! Read the full disclosure to learn more and find out what your purchases are supporting.

In this episode we'll cover: Which is better, liquid hand soap or bar soap? How to recycle your bar soap scraps, make liquid soap from bar soap, and make foaming soap from bar soap. Read How to Pick the Best Kind of Soap for the full written version.

Check out all of the Little Urban Greenie's Small Steps For Earth podcast episodes here!

Please Subscribe/Follow, Rate, and Review on your favorite podcasting platform. 
Whether that's I-TunesSoundcloudGoogle Play Music, or Stitcher Radio, make sure you don't miss a thing and that more people can find us too! Thanks for listening.

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