Saturday, June 20, 2009

First worm castings harvest

Well today I harvested my first tray of earthworm castings from my tiered worm compost bin. I really could have done it a couple of weeks ago but didn't have the time til today.

After carefully sorting out the remaining worms and returning them to the bin, I wound up with about 12 pounds of beautiful 'black gold'- pure worm castings. Looks and smells like gorgeous black crumbly forest earth- smells like the forest, too, really nice.

Every time now that I plant a new row of lettuce or radish or spinach seed in the garden, I'll work little trowelfuls of castings right in along the little seed trenches as I sow. Unlike manure, castings won't burn the seedlings. Castings are like compost but even better- more-nutrient rich, and all the nutrients are already broken down into a form that the plants can use immediately.

I'm excited! My next tray of castings should be ready to harvest in another month or so.

I've had the worm bin for about 2 1/2 months now, and it's done extremely well for me. The worms have been breeding and thriving. The worms are all now 'up to speed' and can process kitchen scraps more quickly than when they were starting out. I'd estimate that they consume and process about 7 pounds of kitchen scraps per week now. I hope to increase that to 10 pounds per week soon, as the many babies mature. The worms have been multiplying happily and I must have about 30% more than when I started. It's said that their population size will automatically regulate itself according to the bin space and the food supply.
The worm bin is unobtrusively in the corner of the kitchen, and it never smells or attracts fruit flies or anything. I guess I must be keeping the bin conditions just right.

I like that after the initial purchase of bin and worms, it becomes an essentially free way of USING one's kitchen garbage and food scraps, converting it into healthy rich garden help grow new fresh food! A very lovely cycle to start in motion.

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