Tag Archives: Compost

Reviving the wormery

My August Wild Garden challenge was to revive the wormery. Worms are excellent recyclers, turning dead plant material into wonderful compost and liquid fertiliser.  I set up a three-tiered wormery in my garden years ago, for fruit and vegetable waste from the kitchen. But it fell into neglect after the council started a food waste collection, as it was easier to put all the food waste in one place, rather than separating out acidic and fishy/meaty waste from the worm-tasty other stuff.

The wormery
The wormery

Having had to buy lots of compost this year, it’s struck me that it just doesn’t make sense for me to send away good worm food for the council to compost, and then pay for and transport commercial compost. It was time to get the wormery going again.

I was trepidatious about what I would find when I lifted the lid from the long-neglected wormery. But what I found was a pleasant surprise. The bottom layer had beautiful, fine textured, non-smelly compost ready to go on the garden.

The compost from the wormery
The compost from the wormery

My first task was to get the few remaining worms in that layer out of that compost, and into the less digested layer. I did that by leaving the lid off for a while, then, once the worms had dug down a bit to escape the light, scooping of the top bit of compost, and repeating the process until the tray was empty, the worms rehomed, and the herbs and flowers given a compost treat.

As there were few worms left, to really get the wormery producing quickly I decided to add some reinforcements. There are various companies online that will send you worms via an unsuspecting delivery driver. I bought mine along with a block of coir as bedding, some worm treats and some lime pellets, to keep the compost at a worm-friendly neutral or slightly alkaline ph.

The worms in their new home
The worms in their new home

Once the coir block had been soaked, I added it and the worms to an empty wormery tray, together with some worm treats. I will add food waste gradually, until they get into their swing.

For the tray of almost ready compost, which has the remainder of the original worms (well, their descendents), I added some lime pellets and worm treats. Once they’ve finished work in that layer they can join the newbies in the tray above.

Hopefully this time I can keep the wormery going well. This will reduce the carbon cost of transporting some of my food waste to the council composting facility, and reduce my compost and fertiliser bill. I will give it my best shot.

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Getting a hedgehog-friendly fence, and a sleepy discovery

We recently had to get a new fence put up. The old fence was very wildlife friendly. It was covered with ivy, which insects loved, and had convenient gaps for hedgehogs to get through. But it did lack certain qualities you’d look for in a fence (stability and verticality for a start). So anyway, something had to be done.

I’ve talked about the problems of habitat fragmentation in a previous post, and this is just as much an issue for urban hedgehogs as for rural dormice. Our garden isn’t big enough to support a hedgehog (they can have very large territories), but is part of several hedgehog’s rounds. We wanted to make sure the hogs could still enjoy our garden (and we could still enjoy watching them). So when we got a few quotes we were careful to make sure that part of the specification was that it should have a hole in it that hedgehogs could get through.

I felt a bit silly asking for a hedgehog hole, but the fencers took it in their stride (having previously had to do something similar for cats that refused to climb fences). So we now have a neat little hole for Erinaceous and friends.

I was glad we had talked to them about hedgehogs, as when they were clearing our compost heap to put in a new fence post they came across a hibernating hedgehog. Luckily they realised what he was and put him safely in our hedgehog house without waking him. Hopefully the hedgehog won’t be too confused when he wakes up!

Of course, the most wildlife friendly boundary we could have installed would have been a hedge with native fruit and nut trees. Sadly there wasn’t room for that. The new fence, while wonderfully vertical and stable, does look very bare without the ivy. I just need to plot out what to plant to make it a little more wildlife friendly.

Read a post on hog watching