Exciting News…and Worm Bins!

The Brock Center has been a magical Christmas vision this past week! On Monday, we had many packages delivered to the office by a man in a red shirt (we know what you’re thinking…but his name was Tom, not Kris). Just like children on Christmas morning, the editors couldn’t wait to open up the packages and see the latest issue of the Ag Circle magazine.

If you haven’t had a chance to see it, you can check it out HERE.

One of the stories in this issue tells the story of the Cal Poly Compost program. The program is looking to expand to include vermicomposting. Here is a blog post all about worms written by Joshua Fridlund, to accompany his compost article:

Build Your Own Worm Bin

Want to make your own soil amendment in your kitchen or back yard? Adding worm castings is one of the best things you can do for your soil and it reduces the amount of garbage you throw away. Here’s how you can make your own worm bin and create high quality compost.

Materials needed:

(2) 8-10 Gallon Opaque Plastic Tubs (you can go smaller, just scale back the number of worms you use)

Drill with ¼ and 1/16 bits

(1) pound of red wrigglers- available online

Newspaper

High organic matter soil

Instructions:

Step one: Drill (20-25) ¼ ‘’ holes in the bottom of each bin for drainage and to allow the worms to move through

Step two: Drill 1/16’’ holes around the rim of the bins about an inch to an inch and a half to provide ventilation

Step three:  Shred newspaper into one inch strips, soak in water and squeeze out excess water: put 3-4 inches of material in the bottom of one of the bins. Add any leaves or grass clippings you might have and some soil to give the bedding some grit. For high organic matter soil place 3-4 inches of material in the bin and slowly add water until the soil is moist throughout.

Step four: For composting you can’t use just any old earthworms, you need red wrigglers, available online at http://www.wormsetc.com/webstore/ . For this sized bin you will need approximately one pound of worms to start with.

(Optional step: Cut a piece of cardboard to the size of the bin, get it wet and place it over the bedding, this gives the worms something else to eat.)

Step five: Keep the bin in a well ventilated area and raise it off the ground with cinder blocks, bricks, plastic containers etc. to allow for drainage. You can use the lid from the second bin, the one that doesn’t have bedding and is under the one with the bedding and worms, to collect the liquid that drains: this “worm tea” is also a very good soil nutrient.

Step six:  Feed your worms slowly at first. Gently burry the food in the bedding in different places each time you add food. Worms enjoy eating breads, grains, fruits, vegetables, coffee grounds and tea bags. Worms do not like meat, dairy, fats, feces or oils. Some foods will be processed faster than others; after all, worms have preferences just like humans.

Step seven: When the bin is full and there is no recognizable food scrapes, lift the first bin up, fill the second bin with bedding following step three, and place it on top of the first bin. Start burying your scraps in the second bin and after a month or two, all of the worms will have migrated to the second bin. This will leave you with a (mostly) worm free pile of vermicompost that you can add to your garden!

About Brock Center for Agricultural Communication

The Brock Center for Agricultural Communication has aggressively pursued the following goals to heighten public awareness and understanding of agricultural issues: *Locate and attract prospective undergraduate students who demonstrate aptitude for communication and have an abiding concern for agriculture. *Assist the university's Colleges of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences and Liberal Arts in preparing these students to be effective professional communicators, through learn-by-doing opportunities. *Serve as a resource and vehicle for the continuing education of those in a position to promote the understanding of agriculture. *Promote the professional development of university faculty through teaching, research and service to agriculture communication. *Develop and maintain a website as a resource of information on agricultural issues to serve students, faculty, media professionals, agriculturists and the public.
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