The food scraps problem

From the various forums and Facebook groups on vermicomposting, I often see the same issues popping again regularly. One of them is related to the amount food scraps.

For the worm farmer who just started with vermicomposting, the issue is he/she has too much food scraps and not enough worms and finds it a shame to through away the resource. So what happens is he/she will start freezing the scraps and not long after will fill the freezer. I too started like this and soon was running out of space for hoarding food scraps for the worms. There is no real solution here but more a state of mind to adopt: composting something is better than not composting. And remember to try to get to the zero waste progressively, it does not need to happen today.

Hoarding food scraps is wasting some valuable space that we could use for our own food and is not really necessary. I soon stop freezing my kitchen scraps except for some fruits such as banana so I can kill fruit fly eggs and prevent them from hatching in my worm farms. Then I gradually planned an increase of my worm population by splitting all my worm bins in two every couple of months. Starting in January 2016 with one single worm bin, I ended up with 9 bins four months later (that includes saving some bins with worms from the council pickup). With the construction of Gargantua and Quasimodo I now have more worms than food scraps available.

This leads us to the second issue which is the lack of food source to feed the worms. There are not many solutions to this one: get it from external sources.

I went to my local supermarket and asked them if I could collect their veggie scraps. The answer was negative, damanged food etc... can only go to the bin. However, I was allowed to go to the veggie section and collect any lettuce/cabbage leaves the customers have left on the trays. That's usually one bag full per week.

For the bedding material, I have collected heaps of eggboxes from my company's cafe, newspapers are delivered to my place weekly and the local bottle shop is very happy to give me their corrugated cardboard that is free of plastic tapes.

Recently I contacted Expresso Coffee Specialists, a local coffee roasting company only few minutes away from home. They were keen on recycling their waste and offered to give me their empty Hessian (jute) bags, coffee chaffs and used coffee ground (UGC). The coffee chaff is an interesting one. Often unknown to the general public, this is the dry skin, the husk, which comes off during the roasting process. It is very soft and light (would fly off very easily on a windy day). Just like UGC it is rich in nitrogren so can be added to the garden, or even better in a compost bin or worm bin to compost first. Another use for it is bedding material for a chicken coop.



Jimmy G's cafe were also happy to give me their day worth of coffee ground whenever I needed some.

And the new input is my new neighbours who have a poney in their backyard! So I offered to compost their poney manure :-).

I'm sure I'll be out looking for more lol.

Posted in A day in a worm farm on