(Blog) My worms almost escaped!

I usually feed the compost bin at my office on Thursdays or Fridays.

Yikes! My worms almost escaped!

I usually feed the compost bin at my office (ISU Extension and Outreach Linn County in Marion) on Thursdays or Fridays. 

Last week's goodies were especially juicy: wet coffee grounds, some melon chunks, oranges and larger chunks of sweet peppers. I thought the bedding was really dry so I snapped the lid on tight – it has airholes - and didn’t think another thing about it. 6 days later I looked and found many of my little friends gasping for air on the inside of the lid! The bedding is really soggy – so much so that I think I will take it outdoors to get some sun and dry out a tad.

Sorry guys! Had I waited another day, I might have had a real mess!

It looks like it is time to harvest compost again! The bin is really full which contributed to the moisture problem.  I think I will take the compost bin to my next Nature Explore workshop and let participants (kids and adults) try their hand at vermi-composting and take some worms home to start their own bin.

If you live in eastern Iowa and would like to get started with a donation from one of my vermi-compost bins, give me a shout! I’m not in the business to ship, so you will have to pick them up. I can get them to Cedar Rapids or Iowa City. I will even let you harvest if you want to. 

It is a relaxing and messy process, so you don’t want to be in a hurry. If not, I am glad to do it and get a supply of  red wigglers for you to pick up. I just ask that you study up, get your bin ready so they have a good home to go to. Send me an email kcoop@iastate.edu and I will send you some good reading material for your preparation!

Remember these are for INDOOR composting.  The red wigglers don’t do so well outdoors.  There are other ways to compost your waste outdoors.

I added my last batch of compost tea (the juice that seeps out of the bottom of the container) to the hybiscus tree in the house and she is flowering like CRAZY now!  I start my garden seeds in the castings and they germinate VERY quickly!  Food waste in the trash can creates methane in the landfill.  But it creates sweet smelling soil in the compost bin!  How will you turn fruit & vegetable waste into a resource this spring?

If you would like to learn more about composting and vermicomposting, the ISU Extension and Outreach Linn County Master Gardeners are a wonderful resource.  Their office is right on 7th Avenue in Marion.  Feel free to stop by or give them a call to chat about composting or any other yard and garden topic you are interested in.  Their direct phone number is 319-447-0647.

Kristi Cooper
ISU Extension and Outreach Family Life Specialist

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