Convert your kitchen veggie scraps into rich garden compost with the power of worms! This simple cardboard "lodge" sets up in short order. Create compost within just 8" diameter area in your garden or anywhere outdoors. Once activated it requires nothing but a pound or so of vegetable scraps weekly, a little moisture, and a little coarse sand (worm grit). Unlike the fancy worm cafes on the market, this cardboard tube costs under $8.00. If you ever want to stop the action, the worms will just leave and the lodge will disintegrate. No harm, no foul...
And your worms will produce castings (compost) to feed plants immediately around the lodge, plus create pounds of rich castings within a couple months to spread around your garden. Your garbage barrel will shrink while transforming scraps into soil. Unlike yard waste composting, there is no need to mix nitrogen and carbon based mixtures for balance. Just pop off the lid and drop in your veggie scraps.
Here's how to make your own worm composting lodge:
1 48" tall by 8" diameter cardboard tube $8.00
8 lbs. of manure (bagged at home improvement center or garden shop) $7.00
1/4 lb. of "red wiggler" composting worms (not earthworms). Google hardware stores in your area ($10.00)
1 lb. of "worm grit" or gravel dust (garden or hydroponics store) $5.00
Veggie peels and scraps (no meat, dairy). Egg shells
bowl or terra cotta pot to put on top of lodge
drill with large drill bit
Step 1: Prepare Your Garden Spot
Locate a spot in a new garden bed if you wish, or anywhere you can prepare a 24 inch deep x 8 inch wide hole Saw off 12 inches from the tube to create 36" lodge (retain this short piece for another future lodge).
Drill 15 to 20 holes (1/2" to 1" dia.) around the bottom 12 inches of the lodge. This will allow worms to migrate in and out of the lodge. As long as you add fresh scraps weekly, they will hang around for the buffet, but explore your garden.
Set the lodge into the dug out area and backfill with existing soil (or some manure mixed in.)
Add the 8 lbs. of manure (Black Kow or other manure). This should fill the bottom 12 inches of the lodge.
Add in the worms. They will live in the manure until you start feeding them scraps.
Add 12 inches of vegetables scraps, torn up moistened newspaper and cardboard, crushed egg shells. Also sprinkle about a tablespoon of worm grit or coarse sand (worms have a crop, just like birds, and use grit to break down food).
Water in the scraps. Worms must be moist to breath. Maintain moist, but not drenching lodge.
TO GATHER THE CASTINGS
After 8-10 weeks carefully dig out the tower and save some worms to set up another lodge elsewhere or in the same location. Sort and save the castings (finished castings look like coffee grounds) and use the partial castings from the upper part of the lodge as starter food for the next lodge along with another 8 pounds of manure. Follow the directions again to build another lodge.
SUMMARY: This is how America can improve landfills and gardens. Easy-Peasy! It's fun to check in on your little family and see the action after about 6 weeks; they begin to peer out of the top of the scraps. Worms eat their own weight every day and will begin to travel out of the lodge and into the surroundings. Add plants around the tower they will have their own fertilizer!
Each lodge requires about one pound of scraps per week. You can leave the lodge for up to 3 weeks at a time without hurting them. Once you get up and into a system, add as many lodges as you desire to create garden soil with kitchen scraps. I could have two lodges per adult in my garden.
OPTIONAL: Color the tube and add designs to the bowl and welcome your new family into the garden.
Runner Up in the
Urban Farming Contest
Bille Nutmeg made it!