Bug and Weed MART is thrilled to be offering a new monthly blog on gardening from our friends at Keep Phoenix Beautiful. Mary Lu Nunley is the Garden Manager for the Keep Phoenix Beautiful Community Gardens. Each month she will be offering tips and advice for keeping your garden beautiful. This blog teaches you how to vermicompost. You can also look to Bug & Weed MART for organic, pet safe ways to control pests in your garden.
The old nursery rhyme “The worms crawl out, the worms crawl in” may have made the boys laugh and the girls shriek, but Mother Nature loves all of that wiggling in and out of garden dirt. If you’ve ever wondered how to vermicompost, this is a great resource to learn more about using vermiculture – using worms to turn organic waste into nutrient-rich material – to create a healthy garden.
Red wigglers are one of the most eco-friendly ways of keeping your garden healthy. Creating a vermicompost program can give you nutrient-rich soil while keeping scraps of organic materials such as fruits, vegetables, and leaves. What can be more sustainable? Or practical? The product that you get for your garden is worm casting – basically worm poop. It is odorless, non-toxic, helps save water, and adds beneficial microbes to the soil to destroy the bad microbes.
How to Vermicompost
Vermicomposting can be done indoors or outdoors. You just need a cool place to keep a couple of bins, one with a lid and drilled with drainage holes where you feed the worms and keep the colony growing set inside a second bin. Shredded newspaper and cardboard sprayed with water make a good bedding for the worms. Once you place the worms in the bin, you will feed the worms food scraps and more shredded paper about once a week.
After a few months – 3 to 4 – the organic materials will be broken down and be ready for you to add to your garden. Worms will be integrated in the material and when added to the garden, they will continue to create healthy soil among your plants. Be sure to keep enough composted material in the bin to keep the worm home environment growing.
A liquid “casting tea” will drain through the holes in the bedding bin into a second bin. Once it accumulates, it is a great fertilizer for outdoor plants.
Some Resources to Help You Get Started:
- Vermicomposting best practices: http://www.sustainabletable.org/114/vermicomposting-101
- Tips for feeding your worms and maintaining your vermiculture bin: https://naturesfootprint.com/community/articles/what-to-feed-worms/
- EPA tips for vermicomposting: https://www.epa.gov/recycle/how-create-and-maintain-indoor-worm-composting-bin
There are many other resources on the internet that can help you get started learning how to vermicompost and keep a healthy vermicomposting program at home.
Visit us at KeepPhxBeautiful.org for information on our community gardens, volunteer events, education and workshop opportunities. It’s a great time to get out and garden!
Next month: Seeds