Solutions for Self-Reliance

What I Found Interesting This Week 4/21/2013

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I’m currently working on converting my entire yard from a passive slab of grass into a vibrant foodscape.

To do that, I need what seems like an endless supply of compost.

This means that a standard composting system is just too slow.  I need something a bit more muscular.

One of the best ways to produce lots of high quality compost quickly is by using worms in a process called vermicomposting.

compost

There’s lots of different ways to build the containers for vermicomposting (here’s a design that uses an old bathtub).

In my case, I just built a large raised bed for my worms to use during the summer.  Since some of the better worms for composting live primarily in the top 3″ of soil, the more surface area you have, the bigger the potential colony of wormy workers.

It really doesn’t matter how you build the system as long as you keep the five essential items in mind:

  1. Bedding (something that can absorb and hold water, like peat moss).
  2. Food source (kitchen scraps).
  3. Moisture (damp, no standing water).
  4. Aeration (you need a little air flow).
  5. Protection from extreme temps.

As we move forward with resilience, we’re going to see lots of innovative ways to build vermiculture systems.

Some of this innovation was generated at Ohio State this year, during a course that turned vermiculture into furniture.

One of the more interesting designs was from Amy Young.  She built a vermiculture table that uses breathable fabric to generate a large work area for the worms.

digestive_diagram

She didn’t stop with this design.  She actually built a DIY instructable for it.

vermitable

 

The only thing you can “find” in the system above is the breathable fabric she used, which is $7.50.

I hope this gives you some ideas for vermiculture systems.

Yours,

 

JOHN ROBB

PS:  I’d like to see Amy, and people that innovate like this, to take this the next step.  Package it up for lazy people and pre-sell the product on Kickstarter.  Start a community of customers that support the innovations you make long term.

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