Thursday, March 01, 2007

Buggy Worms

My family is usually patient with my frugal endeavors but they were all growing weary of the indoor worm bin. The worms won't survive the cold of an Adirondack winter, so when it starts getting cold I move them from their outdoor worm bin indoors into an old cooler. Naturally, an old cooler doesn't have great drainage and as a result they developed little flying bugs that we just couldn't seem to get under control.

I knew that this was caused largely by excess moisture, which was creating an awesome breeding ground, but I was at a loss how to solve the problem in a frugal way. There was really no way to rehabilitate the cooler and a premade worm bin that is meant for indoors runs anywhere from $99 to almost $200. Jim wasn't keen on the idea of building another smaller worm bin for indoors because we'd need some kind of a drip tray underneath and the dogs would probably get into it. While I tried to come up with a solution, the worms were banished to the garage.

Thanks to Diane at The Vegetarian Group, my problem was solved! Here's the post she wrote that showed me the light.

You can make a worm bin out of 2 10-gallon rubbermaid containers.
Drill or poke holes in the bottom of one and just under the lip around
the top and set it inside the other one. It needs to sit up a bit; I
used 4 rocks, one for each corner. This way you catch all the good
worm "tea" which is beautiful fertilizer. Start with a nice layer of
shredded newspaper or coconut coir or peat moss (if you can get the
latter two, sometimes a little $$), dampen it down well, pour in your
worms, add a large-ish double handful of veggie trimmings and ignore
them for a couple weeks - presto worm bin :). Some finely-ground
eggshell every once in a while seems to help them reproduce.

So thanks to Diane, my indoor worm bin problem was solved for under $10. The bin has been sitting very unobtrusively in one corner of the kitchen for about 2 weeks with no bugs at all. Sometimes the best solutions are found in the most unexpected places.


AnnMarie said...

That's how I was going to solve the problem for you, too! That's the kind of bin I have. Bins, actually, as I've grown to three of them. I can't believe you only have one with a larger vegetarian family. DH (non-veg), me (veg), and daughter (only 2), easily are feeding two separate bins. The third could probably be used, but I tried it without a bottom container and it got too wet, so it's just composting now. Anyway, I put so much in that I use one for about 2-4 weeks then switch to the other one. And if you get the fruit flies back, as I did with a vengence, Garden's Alive sells a product that kills them. It's a larvacide and comes with all sorts of nasty warnings, but it didn't kill the worms. I wouldn't use it around the kids and dogs, however. But I was ready to give up before I found it (it's sold elsewhere, but in much larger quantities that say to use it up in 2 weeks; GA was about $20, and is still working a couple months later--I'm putting it on once a week for maintenance. But now I have some little worm-like infestation. sigh. And mine gets pretty smelly too. :( so I keep it in our unfinished basement where no one else goes.

Casey Kochmer said...

I solved my problems by putting the bin into the garage

Katie said...

I have a big compost heap outside that gets added to when the worm bin is full. I'm not crazy about the idea of using the larvacide but thanks for the tip. I'm giving our bin a chance to build its worm population before I begin adding to it regularly.

Even in my garage the little bugs drove my husband crazy!