Maximize Your Output with ‘Hybrid Composting’

Most gardeners use one of two kinds of composting: cold composting or vermicomposting. But there’s no reason you can’t combine the two. What we call “hybrid composting” can increase the amount of compost you produce and speed up the process, too. Types of composting Vermicomposting uses worms to break down plant matter and food scraps quickly. You can get finished compost in just a few months.  Cold composting is usually done outside with a compost bin or compost pile. The system relies mainly on microorganisms to break down plant matter and food scraps. Cold composting can take six months to a year to produce usable compost.  In a hybrid composting system, you add worms to your cold composting bin. Advantages of using worms in compost bin More room to create compost. Vermicomposters are small, so you are limited in the amount of material you can compost. If you have large bags of autumn leaves that you want to compost, you’ll need to turn to cold composting in an outdoor bin. An outdoor compost bin will also provide more room for kitchen scraps such as carrot peels and coffee grounds. Note: Don’t use spinner composters with worms.  Speed up the process. Instead of relying on just microbes to break down the plant matter, the worms will be doing their part, too, by eating food scraps and yard waste. How to start hybrid composting Layer your materials in your compost bin. Put the freshest, least composted materials on the bottom. These materials …

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How to Keep Fruit Flies Away from Your Composting

Fruit flies are annoying little bugs that like to invade the house. The Drosophila melanogaster is attracted to organic matter like fruits and vegetables. Fresh fruit on the counter or in a bowl can attract them. How do they get in the house? Are they preventable? Are there natural methods to get rid of them? For over 40 years, these questions have been bugging Uncle Jim’s Worm Farm customers. Fruit Flies in the House Sometimes a fertile fruit fly comes in through an open door or window. It’s more likely, however, that their eggs, pupae, or larvae have hitched a ride in your produce. Just beneath the surface of fruits and vegetables is where fruit flies like to lay their eggs. Once in your house, they typically stay near sources of food, though they also gather near sinks and other places, like your kitchen scrap bin and composting bin. Composting Whether it’s inside or outside, families who compost tend to collect their wasted organic materials in a bin or pail before moving them to their composting bin. Many families make use of vermicomposting, which means their bin contains worms that break down leftover food scraps into fertilizer. Worms quicken the composting process. The best composting worms are Red Wigglers. Uncle Jim’s Worm Farm is #1 when it comes to composting worms and supplies. People like vermicomposting because it provides them with all-natural fertilizer that is more nourishing than regular compost. All composting is great for the environment, but fruit flies will …

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The Ideal Bedding for Your Composting Worms

To have the best vermicomposting experience, your worms need the best bedding. Our Red Worms are the best for composting. They will savor your leftovers and produce the best organic fertilizer. The good news is that there are multiple different beddings to choose from for your worms. Uncle Jim has pre-made bedding that you can buy. You can also make your own worm bedding from objects already in your house! Any bedding should mimic a worm’s natural environment. To do this, the bedding should be: Soft and gentle (nothing that might cut their delicate skin!) Porous enough to allow airflow (worms breathe through their skin) Neutral pH balance of 7 Moist (but not too moist, like a wrung-out sponge) Non-toxic Edible materials Our recommended beddings for your vermicomposting bin are: Fall Leaves are good to use as bedding as long as they have been composted beforehand. Fall leaves are currently very abundant. Rake them into a pile and leave it outside through the winter. They will be ready to use as bedding by the time spring rolls around. Brown Corrugated Cardboard can be found in almost any home. Most stores will also give it to you for free if you ask. Your worms will love this type of bedding in the bin. Just shred it or tear it into pieces. Shredded Paper, so long as it is unbleached or from black-ink only newspapers, can make for some good bedding when mixed with other materials. Avoid any bleached office/printer paper or newspapers with colored ink, junk mail, or envelopes containing plastic because these will …

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Winter is Coming! Get Your Outdoor Vermicomposting Bin Ready for Chilly Temperatures

The leaves are changing colors, which means it’s the time of year to get your vermicomposting bin ready for the colder season. Even though it’s cold outside, you can still compost your kitchen scraps using worms. The worms will produce free, all-natural fertilizer. If you are from a warmer climate that doesn’t dip below 57°F, your composting worms will probably not die, but they will slow down due to lower temperatures. However, if you live in a colder area, then you may want to take precautions so your worms will not die.

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Vermicomposting, Hot Composting or Cold Composting?

Composting is composting, right? Wrong! Let’s talk about three different types of composting: hot, cold, and vermicomposting. All these styles of composting break down organic matter. They all result in finished compost to use in your garden soil. However, they each require a different amount of labor from you. And they each take a different amount of time to start producing finished compost.

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Container Gardening Using Vermicompost

When you think of container gardening, you probably think of flowers. Surprise! You can also grow herbs, vegetables, shrubs, and even trees in containers! Basics of Container Gardening Find out the needs of your plant and make sure to give it what it needs. Choose a location that has the right amount of sun for that specific plant. Select a container with drainage holes. Make sure your container provides enough space for the plants’ roots. Some plants, such as parsley and leaf lettuce, can be planted in shallow bowls just six inches deep. At the other end of the spectrum, small trees need a 15-gallon container, which is about 16 inches wide and 16 inches deep. Water as often as needed. Smaller containers will need to be watered more often than larger containers. If you get cold winters, the roots of perennials, trees, and shrubs in containers could freeze and be damaged. You may need to move these containers to a sheltered spot during the coldest season. Use a light soil mix in your containers.

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How to Grow a Butterfly Garden Using Compost

Are you excited about the idea of growing a garden that butterflies love? Looking forward to beautiful fluttering wings? If you want to attract butterflies, it’s not enough to offer the adult butterflies a bit of nectar. You must also create a garden that is hospitable for their offspring–caterpillars. Your plants will need nourishment. Organic finished compost is safe for both plants and insects. Start in advance by composting kitchen scraps. The fastest way to compost at home is to use composting worms. Uncle Jim’s Worm Farm has composting bins and composting worms to make plenty of finished compost. Nectar Isn’t Enough for Butterflies The mistake that many gardeners make is that they plant flowers that offer nectar for adult butterflies, then do nothing more. Like other creatures, butterflies are driven to eat and survive–and to reproduce as well. So in addition to finding a meal today, butterflies need to find plants that their future baby caterpillars can. When butterflies find those plants, they lay their eggs there.

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Vermicompost Holds Water: Tips On Watering Your Garden

Did you know that composting with worms can help keep your garden’s soil moist enough? Using composting worms to break down kitchen scraps results in vermicompost (literally: worm compost). Just by keeping a worm bin, you will have a ready supply of vermicompost to use in your garden. Vermicompost in the soil nourishes the plants and adds air pockets. The air pockets allow proper drainage, helping to regulate soil moisture. Most people are busy and want to be efficient about watering their plants. There are two main ways to save time watering plants. The first is to choose the right plants. The second is to improve water retention by adding compost to your soil. Choose Plants for Dry Areas If you have a spot in your yard that tends to be dry, or you live in a dry climate, choose plants that do well in dry areas. Otherwise, even watering multiple times a day may not be enough to keep your plants healthy.

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Composting Worms and Container Gardening

Container gardening means growing plants in containers instead of a garden bed. Composting worms can play a role in successful container gardening. Growing plants in containers instead of the ground solve many gardening problems. If you’re concerned about your soil, don’t have much space, or want to convert lawn into a garden bed, planting in containers may help. Just like any growing medium, the soil in container gardens will need fertilizer. The easiest and cheapest way is to start a separate bin that uses worms to break down kitchen scraps quickly. This is called “vermicomposting.” Vermicomposting results in worm castings (worm poop) that is more powerful than regular finished compost. This concentrated organic fertilizer is ideal for container gardens. And, once your worm bin is established, the fertilizer is free and self-replenishing. We recommend using a tray-based composting bin for convenience.

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