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Worms Work to reduce our food waste.
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The Worms Work Project
The Worms Work project has been started, through schools in the Dunbar and East Linton area, to teach children to teach others and their families how to save a valuable resource that often ends up rotting away in a landfill site. The type of composting worm that is used will live very happily and work tirelessly in an enclosed wooden box (the Worms Work wormery). In return for being fed on leftovers and given a nice place to live, they will provide a top grade compost to add to the garden where lots of lovely things can be grown to eat. The leftovers from that food can then be fed to the worms to make compost to add to the garden to grow more food….
[caption id="attachment_82" align="alignright" width="300" caption="The Growth Pyramid"][/caption] By composting our food waste, we are simply helping the natural process of decomposition. Living material dies and the nutrients are recycled into the soil to be used by plants to help them grow. Compost: Provides natural food for plants Improves the structure of the soil Helps to retain water in the soil for the plants to drink Don’t Waste The Food Waste. When we use our food waste to make compost, we are not only providing important food for plants in the soil but we are also helping to reduce the huge amount of waste that goes into landfill sites where it lies and rots along with all the other rubbish.
The Food Cycle
[caption id="attachment_99" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="The Food Cycle"][/caption] Simplicity itself.
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Bedding is what the worms live in but they will also eat it and eventually turn it into compost, so it has to be renewed eventually. A good clean bedding material is waste paper and cardboard that has been shredded/torn and then soaked in water. The material should then be allowed to drain until no more water emerges. When a handful is squeezed, some drips should still run out. Bedding should be kept loose which allows plenty of air to reach the worms. The top 10cms – 15cms layer can be lightly turned with a fork to maintain this.
A shallow trench should be made in the bedding to take the food which can then be covered over. This allows the worms to access the food from above as well as below. The food should be moist before being used so add water if necessary. Not all waste foods are suitable so pay attention to what is added. Generally, fatty, oily and dairy foods are to be avoided. Feed small quantities on a regular basis. This allows the worms to clean up the last helping before more is added and avoids the bed turning sour or becoming overheated. Feed the worms: • Fruit and vegetable peelings • Crushed eggshells • Coffee grounds and paper filters • Tea bags • Garden waste like grass clippings and leaves (in small amounts) • Shredded paper waste Do not feed the worms: • Meat, fish and bones • Citrus fruit peel • Garlic and onion • Dairy products • Greasy foods
Harvesting the Compost
When your wormery has filled up with fine black sweet smelling compost, it’s time to harvest the compost and start putting it to good use. To separate the worms from the compost: Step 1. Remove the very top layer (150mm / 6in) and lay it to one side. This contains most of the worms and a lot of food and bedding. Step 2. Remove all the compost that you find under this top layer and form it into manageable heaps on a board or table top. Step 3. Allow the heaps to sit for ten minutes or so. The worms hate light, especially strong sunlight, and will migrate to the middle of the heap where it is darker, leaving behind worm free compost. Step 4. With your fingers, rake away the outer layer of the heap until you expose some worms. Then again, wait ten minutes or so for the worms to retreat and repeat the raking step. Step 5. Continue until you have a pile of worms in the middle of your board surrounded by a ring of compost. Step 6. Replenish the bedding in your worm box. Replace the top layer that…
Using the Compost
The Food Cycle
The Food Cycle