Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Vermi-Composter: Almost Done!!

Pre-cut pieces for EZ Roll Worm Bin
It is absolutely essential in urban food production to have your own composter. Its a great way to minimize waste, and provide a rich foundation for any growth; all your left-over food, cuttings and fruit that you never got around to eating plus all your daily organic scraps, can all be tossed into the composter to become nutritious plant food. After researching different types of composting techniques, we've decided on two different methods both contributing to the creation of the absolute best compost. The first is a vermi-com-poster, which uses worms to decompose your organic waste. Essentially what you end up with is the worm poo, which is a highly potent soil.  With the Vermi-com-poster you can only add cooked or uncooked Vegetables, fruit, roots, tea, eggs and plant waste . You can never add any kind of meat, dairy, plastic, egg, metal or oils, to your compost. This will firstly not decompose and secondly destroy your soil and the efficacy of your worms, the worms can not handle any type of fermentation. The second method we have decided to use is the Bokashi composting technique. Bokashi is a pretty neat  bacterial culture that you can add to your food waste in an airtight container. The upside with the Bokashi is that you can stick in dairy, oils and meat. The main drawback is you cannot add the final product directly to your plants and would have to stick it into the ground or into a composter. The vermi-composter in addition to the Bokashi in theory should get rid of 100% of our organic waste while creating a super soil, at least that's the idea.  We are still trying to get our hands on Bokashi or will try and culture it at home in the next few weeks.

Circular sides with ventilation holes, these are what make the bin roll
All sides with holes for ventilation and lid

Sides with support pillars
After spending a few months researching different composters and trying to find something that would be ideal for a limited space, like the one we have. We settled on the EZ Roll Worm Bin. This worm bin seems ideal, it addresses what may have seemed to be the most annoying feature of vermi-composting: Separating the worms from the soil. Its quite a simple design, where you add food from one end, then "roll-over" the bin and access your soil from the other end worm-free. The blueprint for the bin cost 10$ and they come with a step-by-step video which I found extremely useful. I pre-cut a board of plywood, then assembled it. The plywood I bought was a bit on the expensive side and it cost about 240 L.E, but you can go as low as 60 L.E for a board of plywood. I also bought pressure treated wood beams, which cost anywhere from 15 L.E to 50 L.E for a 2-5 meter column. A great place to buy your wood is Darb El Saada by Bab El Khalq. You can also get your plywood cut there using a computerized woodcutter which is extremely accurate, this costs about 5-10 L.E. Other than the wood, everything else can be brought from any hardware store, except for the hanger bolts with winged nuts, these are quite expensive about 8 L.E a piece and can be found in a shop specialized in all kinds of nails called Shafiq in Al Daher, by Bab Al Sha'aria. In total it probably costs about 200-300 L.E to build one and takes about 2-3 days of shopping, cutting and assembling.
Sides and bases
Leila attaching circular sides

Taking measurements for the lid
Now all that's left for the composter is cutting the lid from the left-over plywood. Then comes painting, we have decided to paint it white to keep it cool, once we are done with all the preparation we will finally get the worms!!! (We will keep you updated as to where you can get these worms, we are still figuring it out!)

Test-run with dogs

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