Last week I launched this blog series called the Green Experiment. In my first post I said that I would share with you something that I have been researching that will allow me to create a liquid fertilizer and solid compost for our garden project.
Well, Kyle and I have finished up our research and will be starting this project in our basement in the next few weeks....so what is it that we've found?
Earth Worm Farming!
We will be starting an earthworm farm! Sound crazy? Not at all. Mother Nature has it all figured out! Earth worms can convert half their weight in food scraps to compost in 24 hours.
Kyle and I have always wanted to compost our food waste, but found that it can take several months for the bacteria in the air to eat and convert organic waste to compost. This isn't very practical as one would have to build a bin, (preferably away from the house to avoid the odor) then make sure that we are stirring the waste regularly for aeration to help facilitate the process and so on.
We discovered that we could save the labor (and odor) by letting our little wiggly friends do the work.
We thought we would avoid the cost of purchasing the earthworm farm by making it ourselves, however it turns out that it would be more efficient and cost effective to purchase one that is specifically built to house our earthworms. The manufactured farms also make it easier to collect the "castings" and liquid for use in our garden.
The system is a series of perforated trays the allow the castings and liquid to drop to the bottom of the farm while the earthworms migrate upward to their food source (kitchen scraps). The farm is actually a little worm condominium and fairly quickly becomes a mini ecosystem if properly maintained.
The benefit is a much speedier composting process with much less odor. As a matter of fact, our research indicates that this process is virtually odor free.
One of the other benefits is that our earthworms will also supply us with fishing bait. We love to fish, so it will be great to just be able to go down to the basement and pull a few worms from the community any time we decide to go fishing!
The castings and liquid they produce are said to be excellent for plants and is a natural fertilizer. This means we won't be spending money to purchase fertilizers which contain harsh chemicals. Once the expense of setting up the farm is taken care of, it is basically free for us to operate and we will be putting some or our garbage to good use!
Once we get this up and running, I will be sure to keep you updated with photos and any snags we run into.