Compost (Part 2): A Half Empty Bin and Some Tiger Worms

compost bin jerusalemYou’ve already read about mulch, rot and the need to invigorate when composting, now that the snow has cleared, it’s time to give the garden and plants and trees some energy and care again.

My compost bin is made from two old wooden pallets, found abandoned on the streets. There are three fixed sides, screwed together, and a fourth wall, which is moved into place as and when. From other bits of the pallet, I made slabs of wood that with the aid of stakes knocked into the earth, when balanced on top of one another, form an internal dividing wall.

This splits the bigger bin into two: one for current compost, the other for compost that I’ve stopped adding to, and other than an occasional random turn with a fork, is being left for however long it takes to completely decompose (or is subject to the whims of my gardening patience, which varies depending on the season and what’s growing).

Knocking this together is so easy, and depending on how fancy you want the bin to be, needs only the pallets, a dozen screws or nails, a hammer and a drill, muscle and elbow grease.

Remember, your plants (and the planet) will thank you.

Right now, the bin is half full. I found the time and motivation the other week to dig out the rotted compost and deliver it to various flowerbeds and potted plants. Some of it is stored for plants to come, and some of it will be added, like a yeast, or activator; to the next batch, which is currently fermenting and gurgling in the other half of the bin.

Learn to love the tiger worm

tiger wormsI’ve completely dug the first half out – this is to dry out both the soil and the wood of the pallet.

Also this lets some light into dark places: roots of random plants can grow, and its a good idea to get these out before they get too thick and dominate.

This is also when a gardener gets to see their best buddy, the tiger worm (pictured above). These are the real workers of an active compost heap. They have their subordinates, like the wood louse, or smaller types of worm, and tiny bacteria we can’t see, but it is the trojan tiger worm who really does the hard machinations, chewing and excreting most of the compostable material. Lots of these worms and you are onto a good thing.

Worms and the glorious Middle Eastern sun keep the whole pile rolling. But if you don’t see any don’t give up – firstly, they are shy, and secondly, if you keep providing good green vegetation, they’ll get there. Worms migrate to where the action is.

In the next compost post (see the first one here) I’ll deal with what you can and can’t put into compost.

Basically, you should treat a compost pile like a sandwich – keep adding layers of stuff until you feel it is ready. But more next time. In the meantime, feel free to tell us any compost-related stories, thoughts, or more exciting community composting plans.

Oh, and any questions, fire away!

We’re here to help.

See also “Mulch, Rot and Invigorate

Facebook Comments

Comments

comments

13 thoughts on “Compost (Part 2): A Half Empty Bin and Some Tiger Worms”

  1. Hey! This is my first visit to your blog! We are a collection of volunteers and starting a new project in a community in the same niche. Your blog provided us beneficial information to work on. You have done a marvellous job!

  2. Throughout this grand pattern of things you’ll get an A just for hard work. Exactly where you actually misplaced me personally was in all the particulars. As as the maxim goes, details make or break the argument.. And that could not be much more correct in this article. Having said that, let me reveal to you exactly what did deliver the results. Your article (parts of it) is definitely rather engaging which is most likely the reason why I am making an effort to opine. I do not really make it a regular habit of doing that. 2nd, whilst I can certainly notice the leaps in reason you make, I am not necessarily confident of how you seem to unite the details which produce the actual conclusion. For right now I will, no doubt yield to your issue but trust in the foreseeable future you actually connect the dots much better.

  3. Write more, thats all I have to say. Literally, it seems as though you relied on the video to make your point. You definitely know what youre talking about, why waste your intelligence on just posting videos to your site when you could be giving us something enlightening to read?

  4. Hi there! I know this is kinda off topic however , I’d figured I’d ask. Would you be interested in exchanging links or maybe guest authoring a blog article or vice-versa? My site addresses a lot of the same topics as yours and I feel we could greatly benefit from each other. If you might be interested feel free to send me an e-mail. I look forward to hearing from you! Excellent blog by the way!

  5. Hi there! This post couldn’t be written any better! Reading this post reminds me of my good old room mate! He always kept talking about this. I will forward this article to him. Pretty sure he will have a good read. Thank you for sharing!

  6. Do you have a spam problem on this blog; I also am a blogger, and I was wondering your situation; many of us have developed some nice methods and we are looking to swap methods with others, why not shoot me an e-mail if interested.

  7. I really like your blog.. very nice colors & theme. Did you create this website yourself or did you hire someone to do it for you? Plz respond as I’m looking to create my own blog and would like to find out where u got this from. appreciate it

  8. Do you mind if I quote a few of your posts as long as I provide credit and sources back to your site? My website is in the very same niche as yours and my users would definitely benefit from a lot of the information you provide here. Please let me know if this ok with you. Cheers!

  9. When I originally commented I clicked the “Notify me when new comments are added” checkbox and now each time a comment is added I get four e-mails with the same comment. Is there any way you can remove people from that service? Thank you!

  10. Hi James,I have a question. First of all… where is the rest of this series? It looks so helpful. Also – are there any specific and special things one should do when composting in the Middle East. I heard that people in the Middle East should water their bin so that it doesn't dry out. Some people cover it with a carpet and plastic. In Canada keeping it in bin with a wooden lid is enough, but in hotter, dryer places other steps need to be taken. Is this true?-Karin

  11. james says:

    yes, when the compost becomes like the consistency of soil. take some in your hand and check if its crumbly …. basically, the longer you leave compost, the better it becomes, meaning the more ‘soil-like’.
    and yes, the bottom of your compost pile will compost first – thats where the worms etc are working away, and where the heat of the pile is. So that’s why its good to either divide your pile in 2, or have 2 piles. So that you decide when to stop adding to 1 pile, turn it, and just leave it to work.

    hope that helps!

  12. Hi James,
    Cool post! I was wondering how you can tell when the compost is ready to be used as fertilizer? Also, do the lower levels become ready to be used as fertilizer before the upper levels?

    thanks

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

4 + ten =