Introducing my new wiggly worm friends

Exciting times in our house this month: we have adopted some new wiggly worm friends. Yes, this is what gets me excited these days and I’m going to (ever so slightly embarrassingly) admit it.

Here’s a short tiktok video of my daughter and I unboxing our new home wormery called a WormBox, last week:

@rivermead.eco

My 3.5 year old daughter and I ordered and installed a home wormary recently to help compost (most of) our food waste. #wormary #permaculture #permacultureuk #homewormary #compost #vermicomposting

♬ Old Vintage – Jojobeat

Why get a home wormery?

A leaflet that came with my wormery kit claims food waste makes up 20-30% of our household waste, and that feels about right at my place.

I’ve heard food waste can produce methane at processing centres and in landfill sites and these harmful greenhouse gases are linked to global warming. I’d like to learn more about this – especially where and how my local Council food waste is processed. I will share what I learn in a future post.

If I can reduce my share of that methane, plus turn that food waste into something useful to use at home, I’ll be taking another small step towards a sustainable life.

Photo by Patricia Valério on Unsplash

I’ve been meaning to set-up an effective composting system to feed my garden for a while and one of the fastest and nutrient-packed ways to compost (most of) my home food waste is to set-up a home wormery.

Composting with the help of wiggly friends is known as Vermicomposting, whereas the breeding of worms for this purpose is called Vermiculture.

Vermicomposting is faster than traditional composting

If you’ve ever tried composting your food waste in a standard garden compost bin, you might like me be surprised to find the process painfully slow.

Not so long ago, I opened the bottom hatch of a compost bin I’d been dutifully feeding in my backyard. After a full year, I was expecting to harvest amazing compost for my spring seedlings, only to sift through egg shells, cabbage leaves and grass clippings still looking close to original condition.

I later learned that I need to layer brown (cardboard, dry grass) and green (food waste, green cuttings) materials, build enough thermal mass (make it big and hot enough) and give this traditional compost method some time to work. Quite a lot of time.

Vermicomposting is much faster. The speed will depend on how warm you keep the red wigglers (ideally between 15-25 C), the amount of aeration and the size/volume of food you feed them. Cutting food waste into small bits will really help.

Most sources I’ve researched agree that it will take between 2 to 3 months for your food waste to totally break down in a vermicomposting system, and the resulting soil will be much richer in nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium than your standard de-composition garden compost bin.

I toyed with building my own, but in the end I chose to buy the Wormbox after reading a great Gardener’s World road test online. I also bought the special red vermicomposting worms from the same supplier, Moutta Farm in France. They arrived within a week.

The WormBox from Moutta Farm

I’m still learning about how to keep my worms happy (there were a few escapees over the first few days, which is apparently common as they settle in) and how to keep the vermicomposting conditions optimal.

I’ll keep you posted on my progress and what I learn from friends with wormeries. I hope to share some of their stories in the coming weeks.

Feature photo by sippakorn yamkasikorn on Unsplash

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