For several years, now, we’ve been composting. I  have been purchasing bidegradable bags from The Gardener’s Supply Company. They’re called Biobags.  We have a little crock on the counter with a charcoal filter built in the top that I put a bag into.  We put the kitchen scraps in the bag and, usually when it starts to stink and I remember we have something in there, I toss it outside into the compost heap.

Ok, I’ll be honest. We don’t have a compost heap. We have a little hill about 12 steps away from the front door and I just pull the bag out of the crock and toss it down the hill. I usually have to focus, because, as mentioned before, I usually forget about the bag and by the time I’m scrap-tossing, the thing has already started to break down, so it has holes, is drippy and smelly. Pinching the top of the bag, I hold it at arm’s length and run outside, trying to get it out of the house as quickly as possible. (Usually Keith is making some sort of “UGH!” noise in reaction to the smell as I do this.) Then, I sort of bean-bag toss it, trying hard not to swing the bag and send the drips towards me, and try to get it to land underneath the balsam trees. Sometimes, one gets caught on a branch and hangs there, looking from a little distance, like very dirty, ratty underwear (NOT speaking from experience, if you’ve read the other posts, you know I have a very vivid imagination.) If that happens, I grab a stick and do my best from the top of the hill to poke it off the branch. If one were to observe this action, I can assure you, I do not look elegant. The bottom of the hill isn’t visible from the road, but the top of the hill is, so I just can’t leave it there. What would the neighbors think? (I know I mentioned the bad neighbor before – I am sure he wouldn’t think twice about what looks like a pair of ratty men’s underwear hanging from a tree. Slob. Yeah, I said it.)

The pile at the bottom of the hill has the kitchen scraps, the rooty-soil I dump out of the potting containers at the end of the seasons, grass clippings, branches we’ve pruned, pretty much everything. It isn’t really used as a compost heap since I can’t get down there to stir it and the big branches prevent it from breaking down too easily. We’ve been talking about a composting bin, but haven’t been able to find one that is within our budget  – a turning compost bin on wheels is a few hundred bucks!

So, with all the research we’ve been doing, Keith came across an indoor composting design that is low in space, low in smell and low in cost. It involves worms!

I KNOW, I KNOW! The answer is, “Yes, we purchased worms and deliberately put them in our house.” Here’s how it happened.

Keith mentioned it a few times, to which I said, “Mm hm honey, sounds good, sounds cheaper than what we were looking at.  Sounds like a good idea.”  BUT, I haven’t admitted it to him yet (he’ll find out shortly), I didn’t think he’d actually do it.

Start with a bin, drill holes in the bottom and around the top edge.  Stack it into a second bin and drill holes in the lid of the second one. This way, when you put Bin 1 into Bin 2, Bin 1 will drip any liquid (known as compost tea for those in the know!) into Bin 2 and NOT onto the basement floor. The holes in the top of Bin 1 and the lid of Bin 2 will aid in circulation.

Then layer some landscape fabric on the very bottom. This will cover the holes he drilled, allow liquid to drip out, but no wormies to crawl out (just icky dreams about that). On top of the landscape fabric, he put some shredded paper (he told me they were some old bills from our old files, NICE! I like the idea of worms eating our credit card statements. I don’t know why. Eat ’em up!)

Bin 1, holes drilled in the bottom, layered with landscape fabric and shredded paper

He then started the layering…

Bin 1, now layered with dirt, peat moss and more newspaper.

Then came the leftover food.

Salad we didn't eat.

Then the worms.

Our new basement dwellers!

Then more leftovers and some paper towels.
Once all this layering was done, he put the holey lid on. Voila! Basement composter! He gave it a name.

The Verminator!

Vermiculture is the culture of worms. We are vermicomposting…in the basement…mere feet from our chest freezer where we keep our food. Yup. Let’s see how it goes. I mean, what could it hurt? Sure, we could have red, wiggly worms crawling throughout our basement if they get out, but hey, the cats’ll have something to do if that happens. Keith took every measure to ensure that it doesn’t. I found myself filling it several times today – the stems I picked off the cilantro when making salsa last night, leftover rice from lunch, paper towels, my tea bag from this morning.
Dare I say, I like it? I think I do. I like the idea of making our own fertilizer and soil using the scraps from our kitchen. I also like that, by setting this up, Keith has stopped my little game of Toss-the-Yuck.
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