Today is ‘Vermicomposting Viernes’ in our Go Hyper initiative!
(‘viernes’ is Spanish for ‘Friday’; and ‘vermicomposting’? Well, read on…)
Yesterday, in our post on Permaculture, we referred to the idea that, in balanced natural systems, each organism in nature performs multiple valuable functions allowing for the efficient use and conservation of energy and the reduction and recycling of waste. This is why we have included a few species of livestock in our Kitchen Garden design & budget – to ensure there is someone there to lighten our workload and provide valuable ecological services, and today our ‘herd’ of 1,000 Red Wrigglers arrives to kick off our Hyper Composting initiative with a bang – recycling pounds of spent coffee grounds, tea leaves, and egg shells into rich, nutritious ‘black gold’ – worm castings. Today, we’re trying to raise $44.00 towards our goal, to cover the cost of ‘hiring’ our first partners in this endeavor to locally raise nutritious, delicious vegetables and reduce our waste stream at The Meeting Place.
Of the many delicious meals cooked from the garden, left behind are delicious food scraps, waiting to return to the soil as compost. Compost is nature’s way of recycling all things that were once living. There are several options for composting food waste at home. One of the most popular is vermicomposting.
The art of vermicomposting harnesses the work of the ‘red wriggler’ composting worm. Their job is to eat leftover food and turn it into a potent soil amendment, namely worm manure, known as ‘castings’. Unlike the earthworm, the ‘red wriggler’ is a type of worm used specifically for composting because of its aggressive desire to eat fresh food scraps. While the earthworm can take on the same job, it is better suited playing the roll of a soil tiller, aerating garden beds. Like us, red wrigglers and their microorganism helpers breathe oxygen, creating a healthier form of decay than that in the landfill. Our red wrigglers will be happily housed in a ‘worm bin’ constructed of a few surplus ‘bus bins’ we had in the shed, at no cost.
Composting plays an important role in reducing household waste by diverting it from the landfill. In a landfill, nothing degrades, not even ‘biodegradables’ like food waste or our ‘compostable’ cups & lids. Most of the ingredients for decay to take place in a landfill have been taken away. Those ingredients are sunlight, air, water and microorganisms. Food waste buried in a landfill, like other garbage, is sealed and mummified. The contents that do break down, do so slowly, and only with the help of microorganisms that don’t breathe oxygen. This form of decay is referred to as ‘anaerobic decay’, and lets off a more powerful greenhouse gas than CO2, methane.
So, the act of composting food waste from our kitchen will make a difference. Plus, our composting work results in highly valued fertilizer to build soil in our garden and nursery. And, as a thank you to our worm-sponsors, we would like to share the Wriggler Wealth! We are offering 2lbs. each of ‘Black Gold’ worm castings to the first three supporters to pledge a $15 donation to our Hyper cause today, in celebration of Vermicomposting Viernes!
To learn more about vermicomposting, check out this TED Ed video…