microbes eat my garbage! Or something like that...
Tuesday, April 7, 2009
I don’t know yet if bokashi + vermicomposting is the perfect, complete indoor composting solution. I don’t know if, in the long term, worms will thrive on fermented versions of foods they find unacceptable in their fresh state. I don’t know if adding cured bokashi to an indoor wormery is even feasible in extreme climates--like an un-airconditioned kitchen during a Texas summer.
But I know that the outdoor iteration of Verne fed on bokashi is going well. For now. In fact, Trey seems to be doing better than Verne Prime or Junior. Interesting...
Experienced vermicomposters have been adding bokashi to their wormeries for some time, so I knew it was possible, but with caveats: Bokashi will heat up if added directly to a wormery, and the pH of freshly cured bokashi is at the extremes of worm tolerance.
Most of the folks who successfully feed their bokashi to their wormeries have outdoor units on the large side, with space enough to let the worms move away from heat and acidic additions until they decompose. I can’t offer Verne (in any of his generations) that option. So I was worried. Was I about to cook yet another bunch of worms? Would they eat their bedding and then starve rather than consume bokashi containing fat and garlic and the peels from half a dozen different kinds of citrus? Would the raccoons or possums or early blue jays devour Trey en bokashi?
So far, at least, Trey’s unit is working. A homebrew version of a retail unit, Trey is a plant-topped flowthrough constructed from a series of twelve-inch round plastic planters. Each feeding layer has about six inches of interior volume, filled with more or less equal parts dried leaves and well-cured bokashi. The bokashi heats up when dried leaves are added, but hasn’t the volume to sustain that reaction for long; by the time the worms work their way up to it, the bokashi should have cooled.
As yet, I don’t know how Trey will react to specific items within the bokashi--it’s too soon to tell anything except that he’s alive and wriggling in the feeding layers--but it does seem promising. Promising enough that I’m wondering if I can retire Verne Prime! Towers of planters topped with growing plants are a much better use of my space.
I’d keep my fingers crossed, except that’s hard while digging in the dirt. Or typing.
[the Spanish Moss is because it’s in Trey’s design. I’d post a picture of Trey instead, but my camera ate its last set of batteries.]