Wormbags!


I love teaching children in my gardening groups about the function of worms. The first time they see them in the wormery, they scream, then after that their interest grows, even if they are just enjoying the thrill of grossing themselves out, and they want to keep checking up on them, giving them newspapers to eat, and seeing how long it takes for them to turn the food waste into compost.

Wormeries are a good tool for schools : to show how worms process waste, and they also produce useful solid and liquid fertilisers, but I am thinking about easier ways to recycle waste into the soil.

The wormery I use is a worm city one : looks a bit like a beehive made out of black plastic and is based on the 3 tray system, which works fine, but does take a little bit of maintenance. The reservoir on the bottom level gets clogged with worms and compost and needs clearing a few times a year. The trays are very heavy, even when half full. You have to season the compost to get the worms out and dry it a bit before using in potting mixes etc. I do use it for food waste, but do wonder if it isn’t all rather a lot of faffing about. Not to mention the fact that it cost me nigh on a hundred quid : and I resist the idea that gardening is just an extension of other kinds of shopping : buy something if you really need to, but think long and hard first about whether you can create something to do the job out of stuff you have already got.
There is some info online about worm towers, which are made by drilling lots of holes in some large size pvc pipe, which you then sink into the soil. At the risk of overemphasising how unwilling I am to toil, even for my soil, but for me this is still too complicated.
One of my gardens is a balcony used as a play area by a nursery : its a really restricted space, and can only be accessed from the outside by going through 6 doors, all the way through the building and out again : so, I ‘installed’ a bag system for composting weeds and plant cuttings etc, which was just made from some worms, plus weeds, the occasional banana skin, and some newspaper, in an empty compost bag. It works, but you lose the liquid fertilizer.

I am going to try a moveable worm system : where you put some worms into an empty compost bag with some holes in, put it where you want to improve the soil, add food waste and newspapers or leaves or whatever, and move it to fertilise different areas.
For raised beds, I’d like to look at a system based on recycled bottles : cut the base off , bury it in the ground by the neck end, with the lid off, add some worms, waste and newspapers, make a lid with a well fitting pot, or just the end of the bottle

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