Friday, January 5, 2007

Let's start with soil makers.

Sustainable living requires dirt. What if you dont have dirt? You'll have to make some. What to do, what to do. Ah worms. Worms commonly known as compost worms or red wigglers are a key part of a sustainable living plan. They can do many things, the best of which is eliminate waste.

In our blog, waste will be anything that leaves your residence that is not going to be recycled in a sustainable way. Basically anything besides metal. Paper doesn't count, plastic doesn't count, and neither do your children.

Fortunately paper doesn't have to be waste, because mixed with proper amounts of other things, worms eat paper. And what do worms make? Dirt. No matter what goes in one end of a worm, out the other end comes dirt. So, in my home, we shred the paper, mix it with food scraps, the worms eat it, and we get dirt. And considering the soil around here, we need dirt. Good dirt.

There are a number of ways to keep worms. A quick search will net you tons of websites that sell worm bins. I currently have a "Can-O-Worms." I recommend this or other stackable types of bins if you produce up to their rated capacity in food scraps. My household however makes a just a bit more than that, and the worms can't keep up all the time, especially when it is cold. Next, I am going for the Worm Wigwam, a heated flow through unit that costs a bit more, but handles alot more material.

There are a few less professional but still effective methods. You can build a wooden box that sits on the ground outside, or you can use a big plastic tub. There are many options, and if you keep a few key things right, the worms are very forgiving. I challenge you to take an hour or so and do a little research into vermiculture and vermicomposting.

We'll learn later that worms can be used to great effect in composting toilets, another "sweet" sustainable living option, but we'll leave those to the imagination for now.

So, after you have worm composted your food, paper, grass clippings, and whatever else, what do you do with the dark rich worm castings? Put them in your backyard garden or potted plants. Well explore that option next.

Remember, dirt is important, get some.

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