I trekked out into the arctic weather with my offering of kitchen waste yet again last winter, cursing the cold while prying the frozen lid from the compost bin. An epiphany occurred at that point, and I swore I would begin a new composting method ... one more suited to the cozy comforts that I liked to enjoy. The solution takes familiar form in the lowly worm, and we have much to learn from this industrious little critter.
After some net surfing, I landed at the site of Cathy's Crawly Composters, a Bradford-based lady who works from her home. I lately contacted her and made arrangements for an introduction to "Vermiculture", or worm composting.
I was met at the door by a sweet and sprightly young woman who clearly loves what she does. There was definite enthusiasm as she showed me her various "wormy" breeding beds, with both trial and proven methods in full swing, indoors and out.
Cathy set me up with a basic composter... a good-sized recycled plastic container with one pound of "red wigglers" in well moistened shredded paper and soil. No larger than a basic laundry basket, this system will save me the freezing trip outside to a rock solid heap, and yield a pure and wonderful soil of worm castings for my plants, indoors and out!
Cathy modestly admitted that she has become a sought-after expert in this method of composting; she has been asked to speak in Saskatoon this month at a waste management forum. How lucky we are to have this lady in our community to show us how easy and rewarding this process is!
After two weeks, I have fed my worms twice ... mainly fruit peels, tea bags and coffee grounds. They seem happy to be where they are, just doing what nature (and I) have planned for them. Next spring I will have the richest, purest soil to use in my beds and potted plants. I could even enlarge my little farm with another laundry basket-sized container. Why don't you consider trying it? These little composters are an amazing part of gardening fun!
In spite of the fact that I have a bunch of worms in my basement, there is no odour to give them away. They consume things that decay, while converting the odious scraps into pure soil, which is their form of waste. There isn't much more one can say about the perfection of creation when we witness Mother Nature's waste management. It's all a bit awesome if you ask me.
Vermiculture is suited for any living space ... you can do it in an apartment for a small waste output or a full and busy household. Worms are very adaptable to space requirements ... they quietly produce anywhere they are provided with the right conditions.
Give them a try - especially if you have children. They're a lot easier to care for than the usual pets, and provide an education as well as great soil!
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