Hungry worms, clean kitchens
Slimy Invertabrates are your Indoor-Composting Buddies
By: Kelly Ward
While buying organic whole foods has gone from fringe pursuit to a
Wal-Mart staple, this shift has also brought about an increase in organic
waste. The city’s “green bin” program offers an environmentally-sound
disposal option, but it doesn’t apply to condos and apartment complexes.
What are high-rise cooks to do in the meantime?
One word: worms.
“Worms can cut the amount of organic waste produced by a household
by 80 percent,” says Cathy Nesbitt, owner of a York Region-based vermicompost
Vermicomposting is an all-natural, totally odourless, indoor way to
dispose of organic waste. And because a vermicomposting bin is a living
ecosystem, it also leaves you with one of the planet’s most nutrient-rich
fertilizers ready to be used in a balcony herb or vegetable garden.
To start, you’ll need a water-tight plastic container with a sealable
lid, moist paper, a sprinkling of garden soil for bedding, and a few
worms. Then just toss your kitchen and paper waste into the bin and
the worms will get to work converting it into nutrient-rich castings,
a fabulous fertilizer for small gardens or house plants.
Of course, not just any worms will produce castings. Most recommended
are Red Wriggler Worms or European Nightcrawlers—each can consume up
to 50 percent of their body weight per day.
Worms are sold by the pound and can be ordered online and delivered.
Depending on the size of your bin, a load of worms will cost you between
$15 and $40. This should be a one-time purchase, as composting— as if
it weren’t amazing enough—is also a worm aphrodisiac.
If handling the worms is a little too back to nature for your tastes,
then you need The Worm Chalet.
Available through many vermicomposting suppliers, The Worm Chalet is
a “style-conscious” unit designed to fit in to your kitchen’s decor.
When you’re ready to harvest the fertilizer from one of the unit’s three
stacked trays, start adding organic waste to the next tray up. The worms
will naturally migrate into the next tray, leaving you free to fertilize
your plants without getting slimed.
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