Started my first worm farm in a plastic bin in my basement last week. So far the worms seem happy and healthy. I followed
some instructions on the Net and used shredded newspaper for bedding, but I mixed a little rotting leaves in, too. And I've
added dry matter like chaff since then. So far the worms seem to congregate in the areas of leaves and chaff, and in the
bottom corner where water collects (I have the bin at a slant). So offhand I'd say natural material like leaves, very wet, is
better than the shredded newspaper, wet, wrung out, and fluffed up as the instructions told me to make it.
I have a compost bin that consists of an old tractor tire that was once used as my children's sandbox. The tire is under a maple tree, in the shade. My purpose for the compost bin is to dispose of dog droppings (I have 4 dogs) with little odor, and provide fetilizer for my flower beds (not to mention the now very healthy maple tree). My method is to take a bucket, fill it half full with dried leaves, carry it around my yard picking up dog droppings and putting them on top of the leaves. Then I upend the bucket into my compost bin. This prevents icky dog doo from sticking to my bucket, and covers it with leaves in the bin, to prevent it from smelling. I also add any vegetable matter I have during the summer. Threw in tomato pulp last year, and now have tomato plants in my flower beds from the compost. I turn out the compost each fall into a pile next to the bin, to make room for the winter's worth of dog droppings. Since they include snow, it takes up a lot of room. Here in my Minnesota climate, under the tree, it takes 1-2 years to make compost.
The basic ingredients for successful compost are balancing 'green' (manure, green plants, vegetable parings, etc.) with 'brown' (dry leaves, etc.) and the proper amount of moisture. Air is also essential, and is provided by turning the pile (including sticks and large roughage helps, too). If you provide the proper environment/ingredients, it should create heat and make compost fairly quickly (3 months). On the other hand, I wonder about the viability of composting with
worms. This would obviously be different, as it would not need turning and should not be hot. I intend to try adding some worms to my compost bin next spring to see if they survive and speed up the proccess. As for compost tea - just put some in a bucket of water, stir it up, and let it sit a few days. As for nutrient component, I have no idea, but my flowers and the maple tree seem to like it.
Offered by Wendy.