We compost. During the summer this mean putting left over vegetables, egg shells, fruit, etc. in a large compost box. We aren’t too good at doing all procedures you are supposed to do to create healthy compost; watering, turning it over, etc. But our system used to work pretty good as the compost box was located next to a hedge and sat on a section of usually damp ground. Stuff rotted and the garter snakes loved it – nesting in the compost and sitting in it’s heat.
Two years ago we pulled out the white cedar hedge, rolled up the barbwire fence and got a professional fence company to install block wire and board fence around the roughly two acre lot that the house sits on. One causality was the site for the compost box – it got moved. The new site is drier and the compost doesn’t rot as well – the snakes have abandoned us. So at the end of the fall I was forced to make a decision about the un-rotted compost. Either dump it as is out in the pasture, leave it until next year or figure out a way to compost it.
The answer: red wiggler worms. I transferred all the compost into a 55 gal plastic barrel, soaked it, moved the barrel into the basement and bought 1lb of red wiggler worms. 1lb was probably not enough worms for the amount of compost we had accumulated, but I wanted to make sure everyone had enough to eat until spring, when they could be released. Plus red wigglers are prolific breeders, laying one egg capsule nearly every seven days. Each worm capsule will hatch an average of 3 to 4 earthworms. The hatched earthworms will grow to adults in about three months.
Here the red wigglers are being deployed before being covered up with old damp towels. So far the red wigglers have reduced the barrel volume from 3/4 full to roughly 1/2 full even though we have continued to contribute our vegetable & fruit scraps.