Compost Your Yard And Kitchen Waste Is Good For The Environment
There are many choices to pursue in the area of composting. A compost pile in your yard,a bin to hold your materials either built or purchased,or worm farming on a modest or larger scale depending on the needs of your gardening efforts. The task here is to look at each of these choices and attempt to provide both the advantages and disadvantages of each method.
You will have to weigh the differences and make a decision that is best for your garden especially in light of the climate you live in or even zoning ordinances which could prohibit certain kinds of storage.
THE TRADITIONAL COMPOST PILE
The best thing you can say about a garden compost pile is the ease of producing one and the cost which can be absolutely free. These pictured here are rather small in circumference but provides you with the general idea. Typically a compost pile is at least three feet in diameter and contains both green and brown organic matter in a layered fashion. The only other concerns in a successful pile are the moisture content and the constant need to turn the pile frequently which gives you a more rapid result. This particular design does give you the maximum of organic material.
Some of the disadvantages of an open compost pile should be quite obvious. The most obvious disadvantage,unless you reside in a rodent free area,is the invasion of rodents and in addition ants. The pile can be unsightly and is usually positioned as far from the house as possible which can make it inconvenient to carry it to the garden location. I would also take into consideration your neighbors who may consider your material pile ugly,smelly or providing a haven for all sorts of pests. Zoning on an open pile may also cause you much grief.
The frequent turning of the pile with fork or shovel can also consume a great deal of your gardening time. The compost is also exposed to all kinds of weather conditions which can wreck havoc on your pile.
INTRODUCING THE COMPOST BIN
I think the biggest advantage to this method is that it keeps your material contained, and in general the material will decompose quicker in the bin giving you access to your material sooner. I,in fact, would purchase a tumbling container increasing your production in even a more rapid period. The turning is made easy with a hand crank and with daily turning means composting at a faster rate. I think one of the greatest advantages is to allow gardeners with little or no room or even condo or apartment owners with terraces to maintain a container for their own use.
In most instances, the tumbler unit is quite neat and looks good so you don't have to be concerned about it being close to your house or patio door. This will also give the garbage disposal in a condo or apartment situation a rest since your kitchen garbage,except for meat scraps, can be turned into something useful.
This does,however provide for limited space since the organic material is limited by the space available in the bin. You will also have the expense of buying the unit but depending on the size of the bin,they are less expensive than in the past.
COMPOST WITH WORM BINS OR WORM FARMS
I guess the most important thought you should have before going into the worm farm method:are you prepared to take care of hundreds of worms? It can't be that bad but it is about the same as caring for cats,dogs,or even a pet fish. Worms require a temperature between 40 degrees and 70 degrees as the worms will not survive with temperatures below 35 degrees. This will require to either insulate your worm farm or put it in your garage or other appropriate area. I have mine in what we call the plant room or it could be the mud room right off the garage.
This method is a tray system that can include a multi stack of trays. As seen in this picture the farm is in its first tray. The really amazing part of this system begins when the present tray fills up,you add a second tray and the worms migrate upward. The lower trays can be removed,without harming your worm population and used in the garden. Worm castings,which excrete from the non-mouth end of the worm are extremely high in humus and make an excellent compost.
The worms in the picture are called red wigglers or the scientfic name Eisenia fetida and are the ONLY worms that work in a worm farm to any terrific degree. They are voracious eaters in the earthworm world. These wigglers can consume half their own weight in organic material each and everyday providing you with a very fertile compost.
These worms can be purchase from garden supply companies either by the number or the pound.One word of advice the worms may not be available from November to March by mail because of cold weather shipping.
If you purchase the tray system it comes with detailed instructions on how to care for your red wiggly worms. You can also make a home for your worms from plastic,lidded containers or you can make a bin of wood. A good estimate would be that the worms need about 1 square foot of surface area to digest a pound of organic material per week. I found the building of one of these worm houses to be a little daunting so I went with the purchased tray system.
Now the advantage to using this system resides in the fact that you really get an excellent result in soil enrichment. It also uses up messy household garbage such as vegetable peelings,fruit table scraps such as peels and apple cores. However a word of advise here don't use citrus. You can also get rid of coffee grounds,crushed egg shells,dead flowers with no diseases and moisten newspaper. The best is shredded junkmail from your paper shredder.
There Are Some Disadvantages To Worm Farms
The disadvantages include: The worms like their food finely chopped so you must employ a blender to acquire the right results. If you have an adversion to handling kitchen garbage, this may not be for you. If you go on vacation for any time exceeding a week to two weeks,your are going to need to find a babysitter for your worms. A willing volunteer maybe hard to find. The process in converting the scraps into marvelous organic material is slow. I have only filled one tray since my purchase in mid June.
Some of this,of course is the result of my small quantity of worms. I suggest starting slow and I began with what was suppose to be 500 worms but I believe I only received about 250 worms by the feel of the package. The supplier knows you are not going to count every worm so there is opportunity for shortages. This is provided as a word of caution.
Inclusion the choice is yours as to the direction you might desire to pursue in producing some compost for your garden. I find it interesting and fun to produce your own fertilizer and it is true organic.
IF YOU ARE HAVING TROUBLE WITH WORM FARM REVIEW THIS CHART
Having trouble with your worm bin? The following table offers tips for some of the most common troubles.
Symptoms of Worm Bin
Worms are dying
Food and bedding all eaten.
Harvest compost, add fresh bedding and food.
Add water until slightly damp. Add moist bedding if needed.
Move bin so temp is between 55° and 77° F. Make sure bedding is adequate.
Bin attracts flies and/or smells bad
Food exposed or overfeeding
Add a 4- to 6-inch layer of bedding and stop feeding for 2 to 3 weeks.
Remove meat, dairy, etc.
Sowbugs, beetles in bin
These are good for your worm compost!