Monthly Archives: May 2012

Yucky Worms Book Review

Yucky Worms is a great intro to gardening with worms.Yucky Worms Book Review

The Yucky Worms book is the story of a young boy being introduced to worms by his Grandma while they are working in the garden.  It is nicely illustrated and is a fun story for kids. This book is very informative and educational–a lot of good facts about worms.  Even adults can learn from Yucky Worms as they read it to their children.

This is about garden worms not composting worms.

One clarification though is that this book is about the worms that are outside in the garden.  They are different from Red Wigglers which are the composting worms.  The main difference is that earthworms in the garden dig tunnels and aerate the soil.  Composting worms just kind of mass together and compost kitchen scraps in the worm bin.  They don’t burrow and dig tunnels.  Composting worms live in manure piles.

If you would like to learn more about red wigglers aka composting worms Worms Eat My Garbage: How to Set Up and Maintain a Worm Composting System is also an amazing book for adults.

City Composting

City composting can present its challenges.  I have been composting in the city for a few years now and have 3 main considerations:

  • to create compost from my yard waste and food scraps to enrich my garden
  • keep my food and yard waste out of the landfill
  • make sure that I don’t provide food for rats and other nocturnal creatures.

Even though we live in the city, I have been told that a raccoon was seen going under our shed and we have seen opossums and foxes not to mention the rats that are in every city.

I just returned from my nephew’s graduation in Portland, Oregon.  Portland is a very interesting, beautiful city.  It does rain for a good part of the year, which I was told, creates a temperate rain forest– very lush and green.  Of course, on the sunny days you can see Mt. Hood from the city which is very impressive.

Mt. Hood from Pittock MansionAnother impressive fact to me about Portland is that they have curbside composting.  The city collects kitchen and yard waste for composting.  This started in 2011 and has been in effect for about 6 months so far.  Can you imagine how much is saved from going into the landfills??  And the waste is being composted and sold to landscapers and gardeners.  I am just so impressed with this.  I wish more cities could do this. Here is information about composting in Portland.  There is a video about SuperKids Rescue which is very cute.

I still do composting in my own backyard.  I have the best results with the Compact Compost Tumbler. Read more about my experiences composting in the backyard at Compostumbler Compost is Finished and Creating Black Gold with my Compost Tumbler.  Go green and explore the idea of composting in the backyard if your city doesn’t do curbside composting.  It will all make a difference and you will get good compost for your house plants, flowers or vegetables.

Composting Worms and Going on Vacation

How to prepare worm compost bins before your vacation

If you are thinking about composting worms and going on vacation, you might wonder if you will need someone to take care of your worms when you leave. I would like to share a recent experience with you. In January I went away for 3 weeks. The only thing that the worms needed was to be spritzed with water on top of the newspaper every few days.  If the bins had been more established (like for a month), they would not have needed to be spritzed.

Composting Worms and Going on Vacation?

In order to prepare for this trip I made 3 new worm bins, the week before I left, with these ideas in mind:

  • I divided up the worms so they wouldn’t be overcrowded in the bins.
  • Fewer worms mean that they process the food and newspaper more slowly so the bin stays aerobic longer.
  • I put folded newspaper in the bottom of the bins to absorb moisture if too much moisture was produced.
  • The folded newspaper also created pockets of air keeping the bin aerobic.
  • I tore up lots of newspaper for bedding and moistened it.
  • I left slices of uncooked butternut squash for food.
  • The squash would take a while to deteriorate providing food for a while.
  • Squash doesn’t produce as much moisture as melon rinds.

I didn’t expect too much moisture because they were newly established bins and not overcrowded with worms. The problem of too much moisture comes later in the life of the worm bin.

If they ate all the squash they would still be OK because they also eat the newspaper. When I start a new worm bin, sometimes there is not enough moisture at first so the bin needs to be moistened with a spritzer bottle once in a while. This is what happened with mine because they were so newly established. If I would have set them up about a month before I left the moisture would have been fine.

3 important considerations if you are leaving your composting worms and going on vacation:

  • Divide up the worm bins into more bins than usual which means less worms per bin. For example, if you have 2 bins divide the worms into 3 bins.
  • About a month before you go make the new bins, so that they are at the beginning of the composting cycle instead of towards the end when there are more worms in the bin creating more moisture.
  • Leave food like pumpkin or butternut squash as opposed to melon rinds which have more moisture in them.

Good luck with your composting worms and going on vacation. They are so easy to leave–they practically take care of themselves!