This post is subtitled: “Happy birthday Mark”, “Recycling at its simplest” and “Moar recycling”.
So those are all of the different titles I wanted to use for this post for a number of reasons. For my birthday present I decided I wanted a wheat grass kit (which will be part of a future blog post!). I also realised that it would produce quite a bit of garden waste. If I am using a single tray of wheat grass every 3 days, that is a fair amount of seed and stumps and soil over a few weeks. Nourishing, wonderful, nutrient waste. Mark also juices carrots for this body toning. So every 2-3 days we get a bag of carrot and pear pulp. Also nourishing, wonderful and nutrient waste.
I have yet to setup a proper compost management system at this house. We kind of have a dump area next to the shed where big patches of garden waste goes. But in my mind I knew those kinds of scraps would be wasted there. Also we have started just throwing out our vegetable scraps. And as vegetarians we have a lot of vegetable scraps. So even though we are on a tight budget we decided to invest in a worm farm.
The farm itself was $72.00. However you have to buy a few things like worms ($27.50 for 500ish) and a worm blanket ($9.96). Which all adds up. Still this means we will have fantastic fertilizer and worm casings for the gardens. Something we won’t have to buy when this farm really establishes itself. Due to the cost, and because I had decided the wheat grass would be my birthday present Mark declared that the worm farm would be his birthday present. So Happy Birthday Mark! May your worms be super productive!
This is the instruction manual cover. Just how cute are these vege eatin worms? The setup is really simple.
I decided to forgo using the legs that came with the system as I have read a few reviews online and when it starts to really develop and get heavy the legs give out. So I have it on the end of my work bench, close to a fence, under shade cloth in an area that gets almost zero direct sunlight to protect it from the heat of summer. It is also on a slight slope allowing for the tap to really drain the collector at the bottom. Once you have the tap assembled, you put on one of the working trays and line the base with the cardboard packaging that the system came in. You also get given a block of ‘bedding’ for the worms that you put in a bucket of water and break up into fibers (whose paper wrapping is also worm friendly so that goes in too!). Once it is all wet and broken up you put it in an even layer over the cardboard.
You then put in your worms. They were all wriggly. So awesome. I then spread them out as gently as I could and they immediately burrowed down. I then covered this with a layer of carrot pulp we had saved, and placed the worm blanket over the top.
Shh. Under this blanket are happy worms happily eating my vege scraps and sleeping, we don’t want to disturb their progress!
I also read in the reviews of worm farms that it is not uncommon for the taps of the collector units to get clogged, and one way around this is to have the tap ‘permanently open’. So in another recycling moment, I used an old protein powder bucket that I quickly nabbed from our recycling bin pile because I knew I would be able to reuse it somewhere. We have a big issue with mosquitoes around here, and the idea of keeping the tap open and having a water source for mosquitoes to lay in was not ideal. So what I did was cut a circle out of the lid of the bucket, placed some of my mesh material over the top and put the lid back on. So now the worm tea will drip down into the bucket but the mosquitoes cannot get in.
Here is the farm all setup. I just have to watch for ants as I have had a few ant’s try to nest in some seedling trays that I used to store at the end of this bench. If it becomes a problem I will put a layer of Vaseline along the bottom of the unit. This can get messy so I won’t do it unless it becomes super necessary.
So while we are on the subject of recycling here are a few other projects I have going on.
Yep I found yet another use for soft drink bottles. Cut off the bottom, make a few holes, suspend with wire and put a tomato seedling into it, fill with soil and hang. This is my upside down tomatoes in winter on the clothes line experiment.
Did you also know you can recycle or regrow celery? All you need to do is keep the stub of the base, place it in a shallow dish of water and wait a week or two. The middle regrows. When it reaches 15 or so cm you bury it back into your garden. Another neat thing I learned from keeping my tumblr gardening blog growandeat.tumblr.com.
The header image and instruction manual picture of happy worms are both copyright Tumbleweed.