Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Tales from the Bucket: Verne

There’s a new bucket in the bucket garden. I’ve decided to call it Verne.

Hey, it was that or George. -G-

While I don’t find worms in any way repellent, I’m also unlikely to spend much time gazing fondly at any specific resident of this new bucket, so I’ll be referring to the colony, colony-plus-container, and to each resident in the same singular-pronoun fashion I use with Repulsive (who is only temporarily dead). Verne arrived Friday, by priority mail from a Texas worm farm.

There are a number of retail wormeries on the market, but in keeping with my cheap frugal approach to this whole experiment in bokashi, composting, and waste disposal, I chose a less expensive option: a nested bokashi bucket with spigot and mesh layer. Not quite so polished-looking as the image above, but the same idea.

Urbanite that I am, I actually bought this first pound of worms. Though I do in fact know a few people with horses, and presumably then with access to horse manure and the wrigglers it attracts in nature, I don’t know them well enough to ask if they have worms and if so, can I get some. There are a few vermicomposters among my acquaintance, but most of them are busily building new bins to increase their operations. So while I didn’t go the retail route for the container, I did for the “active ingredient,” so to speak.

Total cost for Verne:

1 nested bokashi bucket with spigot–N/A
1 piece fine-sieve hardware cloth—N/A (purchased to refit a nested bucket set-up for Repulsive)
corrogated cardboard—N/A, as I liberated it from the recycling bin and shredded it myself
shredded paper—N/A
1 lb. composting worms: $25. including shipping

Which makes my start-up cost for vermicomposting about the same as my start-up cost for doing EM bokashi.*

Now that I have experienced the convenience of being able to compost everything, I wouldn’t want to go back to worrying about dairies and meats, far less citrus and onion skins. But while worms might not be the one perfect answer to my particular kitchen waste disposal needs, they might well be the other half of the answer to my container composting/container gardening issues:

EM bokashi and vermicompost, in different forms, should serve for all my fertilizing, hydroponic plant food and soil amendment needs! And if, as some sources say, worms can thrive on a diet made up of wastepaper, waste cardboard, and cured bokashi including materials they wouldn’t eat otherwise, I’ll have a completely indoor solution, too.

So you can imagine I’m doing everything I can to make Verne feel welcome.

I’ll post progress as it occurs!


*The techniques I call “silage composting,” that use primarily lactic acid without the specific mix of microbes that make up EM, can be much cheaper, of course, or even free.

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