“Waste Not, Want Not” is a wise attitude during tough times. Is money tight? Are resources scarce? Growing your own food provides inexpensive nutrition, under your control. Throwing away kitchen scraps is wasteful. You could use composting worms to turn trash into organic fertilizer. This fertilizer will help plants grow strong, without added chemicals. And, once your worm composting system is set up, the fertilizer is free! Worms come to the rescue when you need “back to basics.”
Where to Grow Food
Suburban and urban dwellers should have no problem finding a piece of land to grow vegetables and fruit. Even a small plot will make a difference.
Some plants require more sun or shade than others. Therefore, start by picking out what you want to grow. Look at seed websites. Keep in mind that some plants grow better after they have been started indoors. Planting tomatoes and peppers outdoors directly from seed is risky; the baby plants can be quickly killed off outside. You can buy “starts” from local greenhouses, or make starts. Order the seeds you need or buy them locally.
If you live in a city or have no land, you can grow indoors. Look at your available space in your home. Is there a sunny window, porch, or even a sun room or greenhouse? Any sunny windowsill can host potted herbs. Homeowners can add a pre-built garden window, or install a small plant house. Even a balcony can hold small food gardens. Look around online for ideas.
How to Grow
If you don’t know much about gardening, ask a neighbor or friend. Or, read a book about gardening basics. Start growing food now, and you will reap the rewards soon!
Plants need nutrients to grow. They convert sunlight into food using photosynthesis. However, they also need nutrients in the soil. This is a real money-saving opportunity. If you compost with worms, you will get the best organic fertilizer, cheap! After you have set up a worm composting system, it usually becomes self-sustaining. The worms eat, mature, and make new worms.
Composting worms eat your kitchen and garden scraps. They excrete a dark substance called “humus.” Humus is also called “black gold.” When mixed into the soil, humus adds tiny air pockets that help regulate moisture. It contains soil-friendly bacteria from the worms’ guts. And it is packed with organic matter and nutrients that plants need.
How to Start a Worm Composting Bin
Folks with plenty of outdoor space have no problem setting up a worm bin. Just find a shady and protected spot. Install a composting bin or one of our special tray-based composters. Add bedding and worms, and feed the worms scraps several times a week.
City dwellers can set up a small tray-based vermicomosting bin or tote composting bin indoors or on a patio or balcony. Uncle Jim’s carries a selection of suitable indoor/outdoor tray-based bins. Or you can follow our directions to make your own bin from a tote.
We have lots of information about starting a worm bin on our blog. Your composter should also come with directions.
Order composting worms from Uncle Jim’s Worm Farm. We find that our Red Worm Mix is generally the best choice for indoor or outdoor composting. European Night Crawlers can also be used for composting, and they can be released into the garden or lawn for aerating and fertilizing. These larger worms are also handy fishing bait.
How to Harvest and Use Compost
After a month or two, you may notice lots of dark, crumbly material in the worm bin. This is that “black gold” we told you about. Ready to condition your soil? Follow our instructions for harvesting the compost. You may find, at first, that your worms need time to ramp up to producing enough compost. The beauty of tray-based composting bins is that you can add more trays when the lower ones are full. This makes harvesting easy, especially when you feed the worms in the top tray.
Compost can be mixed into starting soil, dug into the garden, used as a side dressing, or sprayed on as worm tea. If you cannot use it all right away, set some aside in a sack or bucket. Fresh compost is best, however, as it contains the most soil-friendly bacteria.
Waste Not, Want Not
Having your own food supply saves money. Stop wasting kitchen scraps! Turn them into organic fertilizer and grow your own food. Supplement your household groceries with freshly grown herbs, vegetables and fruits. It makes your household more self-sufficient. Even a few plants will help. If you have a bumper crop, preserve it as jam, jelly, or pickles.