At the last home, I never had problems with mice in the compost bins – but the new home is very close to lots of undeveloped land. Fields, an active creek, even some wooded areas. Close enough that it isn’t uncommon for me to see bunnies making their way through the POA-mandated shadowbox fences.
I wasn’t terribly surprised when I went out with the weekly container of kitchen scraps and found a little furry brown buddy scampering away. Normally, I’m live and let live when it comes to outside critters who have the good sense to remain outside but those little fellas carry disease and so are not welcome in my bin. (There’s also a solid possibility that I brought them home with the truck-load of free straw bales I recycled from a Halloween display.) For most of the year, the heat and moisture of the pile keeps mice and other scavenging critters away but the winter temps seem not to allow the waste to break down fast enough.
I wrote a letter to Santa and he delivered, via UPS & Amazon, the Worm Factory 360. Momma gave her blessing to keep it in the kitchen for a few months until the weather is a bit more forgiving for me to move it into the greenhouse. (I’m still seeking a heating solution for the greenhouse that works with my accidental fire anxiety.)
I unpacked it today and set it up in the corner of my kitchen, hoping that vermicomposting will help me with a few things:
- I need to up the humidity around my Meyer lemon trees while they’re indoors. I’m in my first year of trying to grow lemons and still learning. One of my trees is doing well, to the point where it has about a half-dozen nicely forming lemons. The other is distressed and shedding leaves. Hopefully the moisture of the working beds will contribute to raising the humidity at least a little in that area.
- I also am worried about keeping the soil in those Meyer pots fertile. The 360 has a spigot at the bottom where I can drain off some nice rich tea I can use to water the lemon trees.
- And, well, it’ll keep the kitchen scraps indoors and out of the reach of my furry field friends. I won’t set traps or poison for them outside or near the bed, so I need to make it a little less attractive. You’re welcome, little buddies, now scamper along elsewhere.
- I absolutely love fishing, so I have a longer term plan to have a bait source. We have great trout waters within driving distance, there’s a catfish hatchery-release lake very close to our home, and plenty of public fishing areas a short car (or a medium bike) ride away.
- I want to grow the worm presence in my raised beds. They’re worm-free at this point and the impact is noticeable, compared at least to my former raised bed.
I prepared the bedding this morning and anticipate delivery of my first 500 red wigglers any day now. I’m a little concerned about how well they’ll survive shipment in such cold weather, but we’ll see.