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Vermicomposting - Nutrient Cycling for Homesteads (and Apartments!)

Posts: 43
Location: Central Coast, CA
trees building homestead
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Hey permies folks!

We at 7th Generation Design just released a new blog post on Vermicomposting, part of our Nutrient Cycling for Homesteads series.

Like many, our journey of redirecting food scraps from the trash to the landscape started with throwing them in a pile in a corner of the yard - and oh the smell! Oh the flies!!  While that certainly works if you can get it far enough away from the home, it wasn’t working for us, and thus we learned about proper thermophilic composting, and began doing that.  Works great, but it’s a whole lot of work sourcing carbon, turning piles, etc - not to mention not possible if you live in an apartment.  While thermophilic composting will likely always have a place on our homesteads, we’ve fallen in love with vermicomposting and those prolific red wriggler worms as a much lower-maintenance way to transform that food waste into something that is incredibly valuable for the garden, and can even be done indoors.

Along the way, we’ve learned a lot about vermicomposting, and have put the best info we’ve found, along with our own experiences, in one place. Here is an outline of the info covered the blog post.

Nutrient Cycling for the Homestead: Vermicomposting

Vermicompost systems employ compost worms (Eisenia fetida) – a.k.a. red wigglers – to transform a wide variety of organic wastes into nutrient-rich worm castings. The worms don’t actually eat the organic material – they eat the microbes that are breaking down the organic material. The worm castings (worm poop) are an incredible garden fertilizer, and can be brewed into aerobic teas and applied to soil and plant surfaces alike to further increase their beneficial impact on soil fertility, disease resistance and plant nutrition.

Some of the info we do a deep dive on include:
  • Links to some of the best DIY systems we’ve found on the interwebs, as well as some of the best prefabbed systems we’ve seen
  • A list of what to feed and not-feed worms
  • Sources of red wrigglers
  • Step-by-step details on how to get your system started
  • Information on how to harvest the castings (including a preview of the cheap, easy-to-build flow-through vermicompost system we’ve designed and are testing!)
  • How to use your worm castings, with a brief primer on compost tea, our favorite way (and another post in our Nutrient Cycling for Homesteads series!)

  • flow-through vermicomposter

    Vermicomposting can be a low-maintenance, highly efficient solution for homesteaders (and even apartment dwellers) to turn food scraps into black gold for the landscape. It’s easy to get started - so please make sure to check it out before you go, and please make sure to leave a comment to let us know which vermicomposting systems have worked well for you if you already have red wrigglers, or which you’d like to try if you’re ready to get started!

    With gratitude,

    Wes and Casey

    Posts: 973
    Location: New Brunswick, Canada
    duck tiny house chicken composting toilet homestead
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    Looks great, Wes.  What's the green screen material?
    Wes Cooke
    Posts: 43
    Location: Central Coast, CA
    trees building homestead
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    Thanks, Timothy! Green screen is low-density shadecloth, to let finished the worm castings fall through... we're planning to put up a step-by-step build up of the flow through vermicomposter design in the near future. I'll update this thread when we do!
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