Vermicomposting is an excellent way to recycle food waste. The finished product is worm castings, which is a very nutrient rich, salty compost.
Save your kitchen scrapes in a container with a tight fitting lid. Some people chop their food waste or freeze it to speed up the decomposition.
This bin shows bedding of leaves, shredded paper, cardboard (should be shredded) and newspaper. Some people think that worms do not like the bleached office paper. News print works very well (hold moisture)
A worm bin will need bedding, which can be shredded paper, cardboard, manure with bedding or leaves. If you use paper or cardboard, soak them in water, and drain off the excess before adding them to the bin. Worms prefer about 75% moisture.
Rotate the spot where you bury food each time. This will keep the worms moving throughout the pile.
Covering the worm bin surface with layers of newspaper will keep down flies (fruit and others) and help regulate the heat (cooler in summer and warmer in the winter).
You can decompose food waste in the ground. For a small garden space, rotate three areas each year: composting becomes planting, planting becomes pathway, pathway becomes compost area.
For thousands of years, farmers and gardeners have appreciated the value of collecting and recycling organic waste to increase soil organic matter, improve plant growth and increase crop yield.
Use compost in your potting mix.
Compost can add antifungal properties to seed starting mixes.
http://www.agromin.com/products/soil_amendments/index.htmhot from http://www.agromin.com/products/soil_amendments/index.htm Detritus and Humus Factory (adapted from The Earth Science Book ) Purpose: Illustrate how decaying and decomposing matter is good for the soil Activity from:The Story of soil (http://www.promotega.org/ksu30002/soil.htm#Top) http://www1.istockphoto.com/file_thumbview_approve/70328/2/istockphoto_70328_leaves_dried.jpg (twigs and leaves) Roots: www.strictlycleananddecent.com/roots.jpg Humus: http://cse.pdx.edu/forest/soil_hand.png
To build healthy soil, you add OM, then organisms have food source, break down OM and reproduce and excrete glues and nets, which improve soil structure, holding soil particles together so WATER can infiltrate and air is available for nutrient cycling, so plants can get nutrients, and drop leaves and grow roots to contribute to OM!!!
Compost 101 Linn Benton Master Gardeners January 26, 2011 Lecture notes part 2
Vermicomposting Composting non-meat and non-dairy food waste using worms
Vicki’s worm bins are filled with horse manure mixed with stable bedding. The bins are made from plywood bottom and top on 1”x12” wooden frames.
Castings Harvest Methods Divide and Dump put part of the castings in the garden Add new bedding move finished castings to one side of bin add new bedding add food waste to new area – worms will move there Screen and start new bin screen castings – transfer to garden overs return to new bin
Compost Tea Make tea bag Steep in water Foliar application Or drench wet soil Don’t drink!
These compost bins provide greenhouse heat and provide warm air that is piped to the germination beds on right Way cool!
Seed starting mix and tea Basic Mix with Compost 2 parts Compost 2-4 parts Sphagnum Peat Moss 1 part Perlite 1 part Vermiculite Basic Mix with the Addition of Nutrients Add ½ cup each per every 8 gallons of mix: ½ cup Bone Meal(Phosphorous) ½ cup Dolomitic Limestone (Raises soil pH and provides calcium and magnesium) ½ cup Blood Meal or Soybean Meal or Dried Kelp Powder (Nitrogen) Found on About.com
Small constituent by weight, but huge influence on soil properties
Made up of partially decomposed plant & animal residues + organic compounds synthesized by soil microbes
A TRANSITORY component of soils
What is Soil Organic Matter? SOIL ORGANIC MATTER The Living: BIOMASS <5% The Dead: DECOMPOSING MATERIAL 45% The Really Dead: HUMUS 50% organic = carbon-based
Decomposition = transformations of SOM (remember, matter is neither created nor destroyed) Symbol for control: often by temperature, moisture... Detritus (fresh) Humus (way dead) Microbes (biomass) Plants (biomass) CO 2 , energy
For best growth sow fall covercrop before cold weather Sept 15 Oct 15 Oct 1
Healthy soils maintain a diverse and active community of soil organisms that:
Suppress plant disease, & insect and weed pests
Form beneficial symbiotic associations with plant roots
Recycle essential plant nutrients
Improve soil structure for better water and nutrient retention
Ultimately, increase growing capacity and protect the environment!
A cup of soil contains ... Bacteria Fungi Protozoa Nematodes Arthropods Earthworms 200 billion 100,000 meters 20 million 100,000 50,000 <1 The immobile ones all primarily found in the rhizosphere , the zone of soil closest to plant roots