We currently live in a condo. We have about 40 square feet of outdoor space on our deck and we are using much of that to grow veggies, herbs (medicinal and kitchen) and beneficial flowers. While we are doing our best to implement permaculture principles on a micro scale, the one thing we can’t do, that we really WANT to do, is to compost. One of the guiding principles of permaculture design is to re-use inputs as many times as possible before they leave your land. Another is to always look at ways to increase the fertility of your land over time. Composting helps our plants grow stronger and heartier and reduces our waste, both really good things. But we don’t have room to do any of the traditional composting methods so what to do? Well, use worms, of course!
You can make your own worm composting bin pretty easily with a plastic tote, a drill and some dirt but we decided to buy a commercial version with stackable trays. This will let us expand operations as our worms reproduce. We want to do some serious COMPOSTING! You can get your worms from the local bait store but we wanted to make sure our worms were truly the right kind (only a few work really well) so we ordered our red wigglers from a local supplier and within a few days a box of live worms in dirt arrived at our condo. We prepared the bin with bedding and a little food and introduced our worms to their new home. The literature says that worms take a few weeks to get acclimated before they start eating and doing their composting thing but we must have provided a pretty cozy space because they started in quickly and haven’t stopped.
Worms eat most kitchen scraps. Our “waste” is their tasty delicious food. They munch on all of that and provide you with wonderful worm poo to use directly in your garden. The worm bin does not stink because it is an aerobic composting environment. The bin just sits there and the worms quietly do their thing and every so often you go in and harvest. We have already used a first harvest of worm compost and the plants loved it! It feels good to have found a way to apply such an important principle right here in our condo, even though it is on a small scale (but getting bigger by the day! worms reproduce really fast!). Our waste is down, our worm population is up and our container “land” is growing ever more fertile. What’s not to like?
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