Sounds dirty… and it is! Dirt is dirty by it’s very nature after all.
The dirt (super-nutrient rich soil, really) in question, is that produced by my brand spankin’ new Dumptown Worm Condo. I purchased this inventive recycled ice cream container turned composter, at the Mutts & Co. travelling market this weekend past. Dumptown, an ongoing urban ‘garbage’ reclamation project started by Mel Sinclair and Warren Ounjian, proves that one person’s trash can most certainly be another person’s treasure. These two next level, enviro-entrpeneurs create new uses for old things. They turn pop bottles into mini mountable herb gardens, old windows into desks and picture frames, milk crates into hanging shelves, and dog hair sheddings into paintbrushes… Rubbish to rubies! Refreshing in a world that seemingly values ‘newness’ and needless wasting.
The Worm Condo is fabricated from three reused commercial sized ice cream containers, and fits comfortably under my kitchen sink. Due to it’s size, it can not feasibly act as a stand alone method for composting, and I will continue to make good use of my green bin in conjunction with my little red wigglers, but I love that this option is relatively odourless and produces the, “gold standard of natural fertilizers” for my new garden.
The worm condo houses a generous smattering of red wigglers, shredded news paper, and kitchen scraps. It employs the stacking system of two hole poked containers resting in a third solid container, as to make easy the process of separating the wormies from their castings (poop!!!). Once separated, the worm castings can be mixed in with existing soils as a form of nutrient enrichment; you can even soak it in water to “make an energizing fertilizer tea that you pour over crops”.
Now for some Oligochaetology: Red wigglers (aka, panfish worms, trout worms, tiger worms, and red Californian earth worms) are commonly used for vermicomposting due to their adaptability to decaying organic material. These worms like to eat vegan scrappings, so no fats, diary, meat, or related table scraps, but feeding them a crushed egg shell (or a Tums) once a month will provide them with the calcium they need to procreate. They thrive in small spaces, in close proximity to other wigglers, and they prefer warmth and darkness. Sounds like my kind of worm!
I am both excited and intrigued to make use of my new worm condo. I will post pictures in a couple of months when I plant something with the first batch of castings. Stay tuned for any worm related mishaps (Gary is coming over this week), although I hope that doesn’t happen, because it would mean my precious new friends aren’t happy and thriving. In the meantime, check out Dumptown’s tumblr for some reclaimed rubbish eye-candy. Great stuff!
– Sylvia and her Wigglaz.