Starting a Composting Earthworm bin

Composting thru earthworms or Vermi composting is a fun activity especially if there are kids involved . You also get the best compost for your plants  It is a great way to dispose off ur organic waste and reduce ur garbage,

Most Fresh kitchen waste or manure needs to decompose or age a bit before the worms will touch it. Heat from a compost pile can boil an egg, it will kill worms and fresh food scraps + composting bacteria = heat 

You are better off starting with  regular composting then feeding the half done  50 to 75 % done compost to your worms so as not to kill them or have a two or 3 bin approach to ensure that u dont kill worms and keep rotating,

Regular composting  (Stage 1):  Prefer to use earthen pots with small holes to let air in.Plastic mesh baskets are good composters too

Wet kitchen waste (Nitrogen) 1 part to be layered with a composting culture + 3 parts dry items  like shredded paper / cardboard / dry leaves / cocopeat.

 Composting Culture : U can take a litre of warm water + a bit of yeast + 1 tea spoon molassis + Sour curd and / or Vermiwash / Cow / horse manure/  aged cow dung slurry . mix it well and add a bit to each layer to speed up composting (Readymade ones are also available.

Compost bed is ideally max 1.5 to 2 feet in height and 3 ft width

. In 20 days this compost changes color to dark brown and cools down significantly. Worms can be introduced to it with sufficient bedding . Depending upon quantity of worms u should have vermicompost in another 20 days appx … Thus a 2 or 3 bin method i think is best way of composting.

Worms generally love dark and damp beds , aged cow , goat or horse manure, semi done compost or half done compost , which wont heat up They need grit or egg shell powder or sand to digest .

Earthenware khambas,  pots , old large wooden drawers , glass fish tank with hole at the bottom , non rust metal crates and fine mesh bag are great home composters . plastic tubs with ventilation holes will also do the job.

Depending upon where u live you can choose the worms so u have a happy bin. Composting worms are different from regular earthworms as they live in the soil surface rather than deep underground.

Worms most suitable in tropical or hot and humid or sea side areas and grow well at a temperature of 24-30 °C (75-86 °F) and can survive 36°C

Eg Tropical  places with temperature of 12 – 38 °C  Most of Asian coastline , Indian coastline , Mumbai etc South east Asia = Phillipines, Indonesia, Malaysia etc South Americas Brazil etc

1. African Nightcrawlers (Eudrilus eugeniae

2. Indian or Malaysian Blueworms (Perionyx excavatus) may be used in the tropics and are available easily during the monsoon

Great worms for cooler places with temperature of 15 – 30 °C

1. Red wiggler or tiger worm (Eisenia fetida or Eisenia andrei)  are most used hardy worms that are favourite of most composters .

2.  European nightcrawlers (Eisenia hortensis)

The nightcrawlers which are also used as fish bait and the blueworms are more active and mobile and love to travel while red tigers are lazier. I dont reco using alabama jumpers and other invasive species

Earthworms are hermaphrodites, it has both male and female reproductive organs. Two worms join clitella, the large lighter-colored bands which contain the worms’ reproductive organs, and which are only prominent during the reproduction process. The two worms exchange sperm. Both worms may secrete cocoons size the of mustard seeds which contain an egg each. These cocoons are lemon-shaped and are pale yellow at first, becoming more brownish as the worms inside become mature. These cocoons are clearly visible to the naked eye.

Worm poop or Vermicast (also called worm castings, worm humus, worm manure, or worm feces) and worm tea or compost tea is the end-product of the breakdown of organic matter by earthworms.

great videos on composting


Ominous warning for Costal cities like Mumbai.

Cyclone Nargis in Burma has left a trail of destruction and a massive death toll.

Some 95% of the homes in the city of Bogalay in the Irrawaddy delta were destroyed and most of its 190,000 residents are now homeless. The Junta govt has declared the city of Rangoon and five central and southern states, Yangon, Ayeyawaddy, Bago, Mon and Karen disaster areas.

The toll: 10000 22000+people 80000? dead and 40000+ missing , is indeed massive and Shocking. Almost all of the deaths occurred in the Irrawaddy river delta region, where more were killed by the tidal wave than the cyclone itself, Minister for Relief and Resettlement Maung Maung Swe told reporters in Rangoon. “The wave was up to 12ft (3.5m) high and it swept away and inundated half the houses in low-lying villages,” he said. “They did not have anywhere to flee.”

Guess what was the primary reason for so much destruction ? Govt Apathy and Neglect ?

Yes and NO! it is mainly due to the DESTRUCTION OF MANGROVES ….source BBC

Mangroves at Revas

Many people think that mangroves are a few dwarf weedy plants along the shoreline but mangroves are much more than that. It is a whole ecosystem acting as a buffer between land and sea. Mangroves are extensions of tropical and sub-tropical forests into the sea.Growing in the intertidal areas and estuary mouths between land and sea, mangroves provide critical habitat for a diverse marine and terrestrial flora and fauna. Healthy mangrove forests are key to healthy marine ecology.

Try the Godrej’s Mangrove site for some quality info on mangroves.

The very recent Asian Tsunami has shown us the importance of mangroves to the local ecology. In Sri lanka, two people died in the settlement with dense mangrove and scrub forest, up to 6,000 people lost their lives in a nearby village without similar vegetation.

Coastal developments had resulted in mangroves, which act as a natural defence against storms, being lost at an alarming pace. The Main Culprits are Encroachment, Real Estate, Garbage dumping, Aquaculture and Prawn Fisheries.

Bangladesh has to a limited extent realized the perils of destroying the mangroves, but will others ?

Click on the photo for an enlarged shot of the Sunder bans (Image courtsy NASA)

At home in Mumbai there was a Cloudburst and there was much talked about aftereffect .. the flooding of the Mithi river and the Milan Subway by the media.

But have the Municipal Council and the State Govt (Pretty much all parties) learnt lessons from this ? or has political compulsion scored once more ? Read this damning article, Why Mumbai choked by Mr C Prabhu on the politics of it all. His theory is stark and very real. Mumbai is being strangulated.

The Central Govt or the Supreme Court (which was quite protective of the Delhi Ridge) aren’t helping either.

There is a blog that monitors Mangrove destruction called Mumbai mangroves and things are not looking good, just recently when i went to BKC i saw a motor able kacha road made in between mangroves in place of a a small kacha foot trail – right opposite NSE building. Soon i expect the mangroves to vanish there and slums take their place once sufficient debris has been dumped by the trucks.

Little has changed and the Mah DFgovt (whose minister was once jailed for contravening Supreme a court order on saw mill ban in forest areas) is just about to bail out all those people living in private forest areas corrupt officials in govt dept that in collusion with the politicians and builders built complexes in Pvt Forests under No development area.

The Rains are coming and with the kind of temperature swings and severe summer we are facing, god knows what we have in store… This city is slowly dying .. God save this city !

Related posts : Plans to rid Mumbai of slums by 2015, Government officials used slum development funds to fatten their perks!, On Mumbai citys decline.