Monday, 16 November 2009

Worm compost

I don't have a green thumb.

Mostly this is because I'm not good at routines and habits.  So I forget to water and tend my plants ... or let's say I choose not to remember.  As a result, my balcony garden looks like this:

Gardening tools: trowel and gloves (which may contain spiders, I don't know).  One planter which formerly contained bok choy and lemon thyme, which the caterpillars promptly ate.  The red ice cream tub contains the little pots that the bok choy and lemon thyme came in.  The two other pots are the remains of tomato seedlings I bought a few weeks ago in a flutter of enthusiasm.

Okay, I do have an excuse for not putting the tomato plants in the planter, and for not watering my planter.  Here is the reason:

It is supposedly a 'self-watering' planter.  In theory, water drains from the soil into a separate compartment at the bottom and can sustain the planter for a few days.  Excess water can be tipped out through the letterbox-shaped hole in the picture.

In practice, mosquitoes get into the water compartment through the hole, and breed there :( After that, I avoided opening the balcony door at all until the plants were dead.

I did buy some mesh to put over the hole, before I bought the tomato plants.  However I never got around to taping it on.  Or watering the tomato plants more than once, come to that.

Okay, so I can't sustain green life.  Hmm.  What can I do for practice?  Compost maybe?  After looking a little while at composting information, I decided that my planter would make a perfect worm compost farm.  All it needed was a lid with airholes, and mesh over the water compartment. The water compartment would  drain the compost so it didn't get too wet, and the lid with airholes would stop little flies from getting in the top and laying maggots.

Went off to my nearby hardware/nursery store (looking for lightbulbs, as it happened) and asked the DIY man how I could get a lid for my planter.  He suggested that someone could just cut a piece of plywood into shape, put a handle on it, and off I go.  He even offered to do it himself, when I said I didn't know anyone who had materials to do it for me.  He refused my offer to pay for materials, too.  I better bake him a cake or something.

He measured a planter that was in the shop, to make the lid.  Because he'd measured that one, I bought it to be sure the lid would fit.  So here's my future worm farm:

The shredded paper is for bedding for the worms.  I used duct tape to put a couple of layers of narrow flyscreen mesh over the hole.  Hopefully that will keep the mosquitoes out.  I'm also going to put in a couple of trowels of soil and some of the random brown stuff from my balcony, to give it more organic material.  And I'll soak it all before the worms go in.

I don't have the lid yet, he said I could probably pick it up tomorrow.  And I rang up the nursery, who said I could buy worms any day of the week :)

Meanwhile I've been collecting my kitchen waste in an icecream tub.  Not optimal, because it's rotting a bit, but oh well.  The worms can eat it later on.

Will post further on how it all goes!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Glad to hear from you!

the angel Jean