Vermicomposting - Week 1

After visiting the Concordia University greenhouse and seeing their vermicomposting system in operation I was inspired to give it a try as a means of achieving our goal of a zero garbage home.  One of the major obstacles day-to-day green practitioners in northern climates face is a short composting season which precludes using outdoor composting during late fall to early spring.  Vermicomposting solves this problem.

Following the various guidelines and advice online, a vermicomposting bin (batch reactor) was constructed from two 76L Rubbermaid  totes with 3mm holes for aeration along the sides and lid and 2.5cm holes covered with 2mm screen for drainage along the bottom.

About 250g of kitchen scraps (carrots, cellery, potatoe, coffee grains and eggshells) was placed into 20cm of bedding consisting of shredded newspaper and cardboard (wet to the consistency of a wrung out sponge) a few weeks earlier in order to establish a microbial colony and ready supply of food for the worms' inoculation.

Two hundred and fifty grams of worms was introducted into the bin and some worms immediately began migrating out of their bedding. The lid was left off for a few days to allow the worms additional acclamation time, which seemed to solve the problem.

In addition to daily pH, moisture and temperature measurements, worms were periodically observed under red LED light. Initially, worms were observed to be docile and clustered around food stocks. Average temperature was 20ÂșC, moisture was kept around 80% with occasional spraying, yet pH quickly drifted below 7 despite lowering the amounts and varying types of feed stock.

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