last saturday, i went to a worm composting workshop put on by city farmer. the last one of 2011!
on the way there, i was wondering WHAT i was doing going to something like this. and i guess i talked myself out of committing to a worm compost bin before i even got there. so although i am not currently worm composting and have discovered that there is a good chance there will be food scrap drop off in the west end after the west end farmers market ends october 22nd, i felt the workshop was still worthwhile and i learned a lot!
first, i hadn't previously considered anything about the composting beyond possible smell and fruit flies and WORMS. there is nature stuff happening when you compost and you need to think of how you handle it just like you would a garden. it's not a earth-friendly garbage bin. you add to the bin once a week and you start off with just 1 litre of your raw produce scraps! you probably can get 3 litres per week at most - which you need to work up to! you pour your food scraps under the straw and newspaper bits in one corner. the next time you contribute, you add in the next corner and so on so that the worms constantly have a new food source to work through. it's pretty neat.
but i started wondering how i could justify the work involved when it was mentioned how you have to keep your compost pretty alkaline. so 1/2 a lemon is kinda what you get to include in your 1 litre per week. and keep things mostly green to be safe to start. and i like greens and consume a fair bit every day but i think in our food scrap bucket typically you see a lot of fruit ends and banana peels. probably not going to be in the compost bin too much. coffee grounds are allowed (if applicable to your lifestyle) but kept to a minimum. eggshells are encouraged for calcium (so the instructor even said to get some eggshells from a friend!) but not the residue of the egg. but it seems that cooked food and meat and egg stuff are really only to stay out of your compost because they could attract rodents and such! not because it's totally gross to eat animal products. so ok, having a bin indoors means you could put whatever food scraps in there you want but you have to really limit the total amount. and i don't know if i can justify having a big bin in my apartment (or storage) that keeps one litre of food scraps out of the garbage disposal. as romantic a notion it is. wow, i didn't realize i was such a jerk to the earth! i am putting no effort into this, am i!?
anyways, after 6 months of committing to worms and a bin, i would have the worm casings to use 1/2 and 1/2 with soil for indoor and outdoor plants. and i have a bunch of indoor plants but i don't know if i could distribute all of my compost matter. and that's after separating all your worms from the compost soil. and you get compost 'tea' too dripping out of the bin which you need to collect regularly (once a week?) and can use 1 part for every 10 parts water as a super nutrient-dense fertilizer.
i think i really need a backyard or at least balcony, but ideally a garden over anything else, in order to make worm composting most sensible. i love our apartment but it's of limited size and there isn't a balcony, backyard, back porch or deck, parking garage or anywhere they would suggest, or i could consider, keeping a worm compost bin.
but someday i hope i can do it! it's right up there with having my own garden plot. sigh! some day! until then... going to hope for a food scrap drop-off place once a week. then i can keep ALL plant products out of the garbage disposal! ^_^ and no worms or bin or smell or fruit flies? pretty good deal to me...