Worm Composting with Everyday Materials
HI Mexico’s project in Jonotla focuses on teaching sustainable, organic agriculture techniques. Many farmers in Jonotla and around the world depend on chemical fertilizers and pesticides in order to maintain high crop yields. However, in the long run these chemicals rob the land of its vitality, which makes the farmers all the more dependant on chemicals. In order to end this cycle, affordable alternatives are needed that will maintain high crop yields while at the same time decreasing the need for chemical fertilizers and increasing the health of the soil.
Vermicomposting (composting with worms) is one such example. When worms are used to digest plant and food waste, the result is a rich, black compost filled with micronutrients and micro-organisms ideal for growing almost any crop. Even better, worm composting can be done with everyday materials and with almost no start up costs.
Here’s what the HI Mexico team did to get their vermicomposting system started. You can use this same simple technique to construct a worm composting system for your home!
After a few short weeks, the worms will turn the leaves and kitchen scraps into organic compost that can be used like a fertilizer—added to vegetable gardens, around the base of trees, or to support any other plants. Red wigglers are surface dwellers, unlike burrowing earthworms. As the worms move upward to reach fresh bedding and food, the lower tire will be left with rich compost. When the bottom tire is full, simply slide it out, harvest the compost, and replace the empty tire on the top of the stack.
The HI Mexico staff hopes that organic techniques such as this one will make it possible for farmers to transition to a style of agriculture that supports the long term health of their land and the planet.