Wormery skillshare with worm guru Fred Miller
Saturday 17th April £5-£8 suggested donation but no-one turned away due to lack of funds! 10am-midday plus shared lunch afterwards.
After the workshop we will be having a shared lunch so please bring something to put in with the mix! Sometimes it is a good idea if all the food is vegetarian as this ensures a level of inclusivity. Cake and refreshments will be provided by Transition Keynsham.
To book a place please email: firstname.lastname@example.org . We will send you details about the venue and what materials to bring if you would like to make a wormery on the day.
Fred’s website: www.theurbanwormnetwork.blogspot.com
The Earth’s Ancient Ways of Cycling materials
Composting is the way we recycle organic wastes. It is a way of using nature’s natural systems, but in a managed way. In the past when there were few humans, our waste could just rot or be eaten by wild animals without any problems, just as the waste of other plants and animals does. But there are now so many of us, in concentrated habitations, that it would cause problems if we spread it on the ground.
So instead we compost it in heaps, and containers, but this is still entirely dependent on the natural systems of recycling that nature has evolved over the 4 billion years. The fungi and bacterial action that breaks it down is the main process. Other small animals then graze on those microbes, as well as eating some fresh material, and converting it into further droppings. All compost is manure, it is the poo of: bacteria, worm, woodlouse, pot worm, slug …… and so on!
But we can manage the compost to favour one type of creature and process over another. ‘Hot composting’, for example, favours the thermophilic bacteria, which give off heat; this is done by mixing and turning a balance of ‘green’ and ‘brown’ organic waste. The brown and green mix is important. It represents the ratio of carbon to nitrogen. More carbon is needed than nitrogen, as it is what gives the energy to the microbes. It is analogous to our need to eat a good balance of carbohydrates and greens.
The drier carbon rich material also gives ‘structure’ to the compost, allowing air to flow freely through it. This stops it going putrid and smelly. So when we compost sloppy food waste, we have to add plenty of fibrous carbon material such as torn up cardboard, shredded paper, straw, leaves, hay, saw dust…
A wormery is a form of composting that favours worms ! We still need to mix food waste with plenty of ‘brown’ carbon material, but we are doing it in a cooler way (worms’ ideal temperature range is 15 – 25 °C). The microbes and fungi still get to work, and then the worms graze on that ‘rot’, and convert it all into their worm casts.
The worms move in the rotting material and help aerate it, so it does not need turning by hand. If it stays aerated it will not smell bad. It is only when organic matter becomes anaerobic (without air) that it gets putrid and smelly. A wormery is good for food waste, as it can be housed in a rat proof container. The compost it produces, called vermi-compost, (which is partly worm casts (worm pooh !) and partly other decomposed material) is very high in nutrients, and when mixed with soil or other compost, is good for plants.
The soil bacteria and nutrients it contains are beneficial to soil life and plant growth.