So the chickens drove me to the point of near insanity, digging up what gardens I was unable to net, eatting seedlings I couldn’t protect, doing Houdini escapes from the chicken coop I made them as a last resort… Free range is all good and well, does mean their eggs range free far and wide who bloody knows where though! Their disadvantages were starting to strongly out weigh their benefits, so we sold them.
Now I miss them…sort of…they were beautiful to look at, when we located their eggs they were good and now what do we do with all the childrens leftover scraps??!!
I don’t like putting cooked food in my compost, we have enough rats lurking around I don’t want to go and make a cafe for them. But now a worm farm could deal with that and I’ll get goodies out of it too. Vermicompost, called “black gold”, looks like rich chocolate mousse..made with black beans! Compared to ordinary soil this stuff contains five times more nitrogen, seven times more phosphorus and 11 times more potassium. Hoo-wee! I’ll have some of that. Seems like it’s best to use the vermicompost diluted 1:20 in water and vigorously stirred (aerated) rather than using the liquid “worm wee” which can go anaerobic and contain bad bacteria. Though I’m no pro and could be all fine as long as it’s diluted enough. I use a splash of worm wee in my hand crafted potting mix and nothing has died!
Yesterday I was given a bucket of this black gold along with a handful of worms, a tour of a working worm and all other critter farm and inspiration to get cracking to make my own, thanks Richard!
So in true me style I scoured our property to see what I had to be able to make one for free, I found… an old power meter door, a recycling bin, some shade cloth, a plastic netted tray, a broken baby bath, tyres, polystyrene boxes. Hmmmm. Then I googled and found what would fit, made a few adjustments, blended a few ideas and came up with something that I’m sure someone has done before! This website here had lots of different ideas and was useful.
I use polystyrene boxes to transport my seedlings to market, after three years of use a couple are getting beyond use, but then what do you do with the awful things? I’m pleased to find a use for them here, almost dare I say perfect for what’s going to be my ramshackle project.
So in between rain spells I cleared an area where it will go. A shady spot (so the worms don’t cook) and not in a too awkward place too far from the house, nor too close. The bin there is where I put our kitchen scraps, when it’s full I make compost. Near there made sense~
First layer is a polystyrene box that has no holes, this is where the liquid stuff will go, I think! To harvest I’ll be able to lift off the other layers and tip it out, that’s the plan anyway.
Then I put broken tray down and quite broken polystyrene box lined with shade cloth.
Another box on top. My plan is that once the worms are doing their business and this top layer becomes full I can swap those top two over and start again but with a head start and things drip into the bottom one whilst the one in the middle matures? Yeah, I’m not entirely sure but in my head it’s a terrific idea!
Then I put in ripped up newspaper for bedding material.
See the stripes on these worms, they are tiger worms Eisenia foetida. These are the worms you’re after, ye ol’ common earthworm just doesn’t cut the mustard.
I put kitchen scraps on top of the newspaper then the worms. Then remembered that these worms hang out at the top of piles rather than the bottom like earthworms, so put more scraps on top like a worm sandwich!
That sludgey stuff is the “black gold”. I probably should’ve put some of my half worked compost in first. Oh well, live and hope!
I then tucked the whole shebang in with some newspaper and put rolled up bits of newspaper round the outside to secure it all in and keep it moist and hopefully the flies away.
We watered the newspaper then put a feed bag on top secured with bits of timber. It aint pretty but hopefully it will work as it’s meant too! I’ll keep you posted