Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Balcony Worm Bin

I garden in every nook and cranny of my yard so it makes sense that I compost in every nook and cranny of my yard.  You never have to walk far to find a bin ready to work it's magic on the leaves, clippings and other "compostable" materials that accumulate each day while I walk through the garden.  Well, never too far except for my 60 square foot balcony garden.  While I was busy throwing my garden "trash" over the balcony I was missing an opportunity for another composting bin.  Well, not a bin exactly but vermicomposting aka worm composting.  If you're already vermicomposting you know how wonderful worm castings are for your garden.  Some say it's one of the best fertilizers you can give your plants.  You can purchase a worm bin from any of the larger garden stores.

They work very well and look fine but they can be pricey.  I knew I could make one for our balcony garden that worked just as well for a fraction of the price.

My only purchase was 2-30" deep tubs.  I choose a "non-clear" container because I've heard it said that worms like it dark.  Everything else was laying around, waiting to be reused, or, as was the case with the worms, hoping to be relocated.  I used 4 bricks, shredded newspaper, kitchen waste (watermelon and avocados are a real worm favorite) and a big scoop of worms from my overcrowded bin.  A drill makes this job go really quickly but a hammer and nail could get the job done in a pinch.

Drill holes around the top 2 inches of one of your tubs. 

                                      Drill holes in the bottom of the same tub for drainage.

                             Place 4 bricks in the bottom of your "non drilled" tub.

Shred newspaper.  Moisten your paper before adding it to the worm bin by soaking it for a few minutes in a 5 gallon bucket.

Add the shredded newspaper to the bin  Add your worms and kitchen scraps.  Be sure to add some soil, coffee grounds or crushed eggshells.  Worms (like chickens) don't have gizzards and adding these materials will aid with digestion.

Top with a bit more paper, cover with the lid from one of the bins and let the little guys do what they do. 
Be sure to feed your worms regularly.  1 pound of worms can eat 1/2 pounds of kitchen scraps a day.  Bury the kitchen scraps under the bedding to minimize fruit flies and don't let the bedding dry out. 
I spent less than $14.00 for the 2 tubs-much less than the cost of buying a bin.  Everything else was here for the taking.  If I had to buy worms it would have added to the cost.  For those who don't have an overcrowded bin, worms can be purchased easily through many internet sites. 
Don't let a lack of space keep you from composting.  Turn your waste into castings!
Be well and happy gardening!