Wednesday, November 5, 2008

What Kind of Word is Vermicomposting?

A little story:

I grew up in northern Iowa. At the end of my sixth-grade year in school, we moved about 40 miles further north (about 25 miles south of the Minnesota border) and into a Norwegian community. If you are Norwegian, please take no offense if I have just a little fun at the expense of Norvegians (did you catch the "v"). You're probably used to hearing the many Sven and Ole jokes. ;-)

Anyway, I'm wondering if the term Vermicomposting might be a Norvegian word? Ve must explore this a bit further. In the vernacular of Sven and Ole, verms would stand for werms (worms).

As my high school Algebra I teacher would say, "If (this + this = this) and (that + that = that), then 'Aha!' this equals that!

So, if you already know that vermicomposting is composting with worms, and verms = worms, then it stands to reason that vermicomposting must be a Norwegian term! :-)

What was all that about?
Well, I thought perhaps I'd just completed some sort of life circle.

I moved away from that Norwegian community long ago,
but I've just moved a community into my home...
and it seems to be Norwegian!

Check it out!
(click on this photo to enlarge slightly)

I've been wanting to do this for years! I'd hoped to try it in my second-grade classroom, but I stopped teaching two years ago, and that was a goal I never accomplished. But after reading about this all last Winter, and ordering a book by the late Mary Appelhof, I became re-inspired!

I have had a compost pile in my yard for about 20 years, but it's not active during the Winter, of course. These little fellows are red wiggler worms. They would never live through our winter weather. But they're perfect for indoor composting.

At least, I'm giving it a try. I hope to have great results. If so, I'll post on the subject again sometime. :-)


Lisa at Greenbow said...

I tried this one time. I must not got the right combination going because I had too many fruit flies. I hear that if you get the right combinations you don't have them. I will be interested to see how this goes for you.

Kathleen said...

I've wanted to try this before too because I don't have an outdoor compost pile. (I really should have something). I'll be keeping in touch to see how it goes. I bet second graders would have loved this project!

cheryl said...

Not going to try this. :) But, you go for it!!!

Gail said...

Fantastic...a new learning adventure!
can't wait to see the results!


Anonymous said...

Shady ~ Love your logic chain... interesting and amusing! I should be "grossed out," as I'm reading about your verms in between making stove-top, tortilla pizza... But, we gardeners are a hardy lot, rarely squeamish.

Anxious to learn how it goes. They're pretty cute little guys and look like they're up to the task. Question: Is that an air-tight bin? Don't they need oxygen? And what's the little white container, with aerated lid? I'd definitely like to try this - beats stumbling over the frozen tundra, in the middle of winter, to reach a compost bin that's stopped "cooking."

Didn't Kate (of Kate Smudges) start one last winter? I wonder how that went? Best of success with your "vigglers!" ~ Deb

Shady Gardener said...

Lisa, So far I've seen no fruit flies. But then, it's only been one week. :-)

Kathleen, I'm sure the 2nd graders would have loved it!! We had such a classroom as it was... two anoles, one or two guinea pigs (depending on the year), a Russian land tortoise, goldfish and guppies. Sometimes, if a child brought it, we'd have a baby painted turtle or two in a tank! (A great environment!) :-)

(I may have to buy a lizard or a canary... I'm missing animals!)

Hi Cheryl, Think L & A would like them? ;-)

Gail, For sure it's a learning adventure! :-) I'm excited!

Hi Deb, I followed some good directions in drilling ventilation holes at the top of the sides, all around, and in the lid. I also drilled drainage holes in the bottom (and covered the bottom with fine plastic window screen). Don't vant those vigglers to viggle away! ;-)

The little white bucket with the aerated lid is my kitchen compost pail. You can find them in gardening supply catalogs.

Google "vermicomposting" and you'll find lots of information and places from which to purchase the worms. The book I purchased is also chock full of information!

Iowa Victory Gardener said...

Hi Shady!
We've not tried this because we have an outdoor compost pile, but it sure does attract the worms, and we're happy to see them. Funny thing is, we have two huge potted plants that spend the summer outside, then we bring them in and we mulch them with leaves in the house. Well last year, we heard rustling in one of them and discovered that it was worms moving around! We're pretty sure that some worms came in again this year, but they are well behaved so we don't mind them living there!

Shady Gardener said...

IVG, Welcome! I'd never thought you might HEAR the worms! ha! This is all an experiment, but if it works - I plan to store the vermicompost in an extra garbage can in the garage. Then I can use it around outdoor plants. :-) It seems I have enough kitchen waste that I can continue to dump things outdoors, too!

Connie said...

I have been vermi-composting for several years. I love the finished product for my garden and container plants. BTW, I am a good Norvegian, as well. :-)

Shady Gardener said...

Hi Connie, Thank you for visiting! I'm so excited about this, but I hope it goes well. Any tips???

(I hope I wasn't offensive when it came to my Norwegian-flavored story!)

Iowa Victory Gardener said...

With regard to kitchen waste, do you put your coffee grounds in there? We compost them, filter and all, and they compost quite nicely. Which reminds me ... when I was a kid, my dad and I used to collect night crawlers on rainy nights (HIS idea, not mine)and he always kept them in the refrigerator in used coffee grounds, so I guess they must like that medium.

Anonymous said...

I hope the project is a success. I mentioned the idea once to my wife and she wasn't too keen on it. I will have to stick with the outdoor bin for now.

Keep us updated on how things go.

Shady Gardener said...

chad and brandy, Thanks for visiting! (You don't really have to handle them, except at first... and you can wear rubber gloves!) ;-) I'll post again.

Patsi said...

You made me giggle :)
Needed a smile on this gloomy day.

Shady Gardener said...

Hi Patsi, I'm glad I could make you giggle! Especially on a gloomy day! :-) (Are you glad it's me and not you doing this?) ha.

Dellits said...

ewww! sounds gross, but i'll bet it works great...i'm proud of you for attempting this! i love the earth, but i'm not sure i could do this! love, a

Shady Gardener said...

Hi Dellits! I hope it works great... it's supposed to! Thanks for the encouragement, and if you ever get this way I'll let you play with it! ;-)

The Garden Faerie said...

Werms rule!

Shady Gardener said...

The Garden Faerie, You von't find an argument here! ;-) Thanks for visiting.

The Garden Faerie said...

I'm sure it will work! At a master composter class, a lady who was a long-time vermicomposter brought in her worm bin. It was really interesting seeing it and hearing her talk about the process. I assume you'll continue giving us updates!
~ Monica

Shady Gardener said...

Monica, I didn't know there was such a thing as a Master composter class! We have an offering of a Master Gardener class (which I may decide to take, if it's offered this year!) ;-)