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[greenyes] Worms & Composting Nicky Scott
Hi
I'm a composter in England (I co-ordinate community composting projects here
in Devon and Nationally am the chairman of the Network) and have just
writtena small book on composting - it's not supposed to be a plug! {however
if you are interested it is only £1.95 or much cheaper in bulk see
www.greenbooks.co.uk 
(It's called 'Composting for all' - by Nicky Scott pictures by Bob Gale)
Anyway - the main reason for writing it was to help promote home composting
& to hopefully be something which could accompany a home composter bin which
most Local Authorities subsidise here.
As i was wrtitng it I realised that the main concerns are what to do with
Kitchem waste - Ie all the things likely to attract flies and rats etc. Also
what to mix these things with.  You basically have to exclude these
'vectors'.  In my humble opinion it is usually best to first compost these
materials - and I mean everything - cooked food, oil, meat, fish, dairy, veg
scraps etc - you need to mix them with an appropriate carbon source - the
easiest is cardboard and paper - especially ythe unrecyclable stuff - toilet
rolll centres, kitchen paper- tissues etc etc - you can always bulk it up
with spoiled newspaper cardbaord packaging of all sorts - rip- tear and
scrunch it up to create airways etc.  It will absorb liquid and provide air
and carbon.  also add garden clippings, manures etc.  This material can go
into a wormery but the problem is that you really only want to add  small
amounts at a time - otherwise it composts.  IE it heats up and the worms
like it cool! - the thing to do is to find a container that is vermin proof
- I use an old degassed chest freezer as a cheap convenient - insulated box
which I put a wooden grid in at the bottom to provide an airflow - you need
to create  slots covered with mesh (flies) both under and above the grid and
a 'chimney on the lid to draw up air.
You can also make a 'standard New Zealand type bin but line it out with
metal mesh to exclude rats - needs to be on the base too - and have a lid.
Another solution is to use a fermentation method - you can buy
micro-organisms which ferment your kitchen waste like sauerkraut! see
www.livingsoil.co.uk
So whilst I am a vermicompost enthusiast too I am primarily a composter - I
also have several wormeries - made out of old dustbins mainly - but I do
find precomposting through the hot phase the easiest way - then I feed my
worms with it.
i could go on but must get back to work!
Nicky Scott






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