So I made a worm farm out of two plastic bins and coffee grounds. It was so simple that I couldn’t help but share it. Of course you will need worms to get started. I bought some red wiggler worms, also known as composting worms,
along with two dollar store totes. I worked in an office and was friends with the night janitor (I worked late and she would come in to start her shift, we just hit it off). Anyway, I asked her to save the coffee grounds for me from the multiple coffee pots she was changing out every night. I have heard people say they also got coffee grounds from Starbucks or other local coffee shops if you just ask.
First I drilled holes in the bottom of one plastic tote.
I then placed some old coffee cups in the bottom of the plastic tote that was not full of holes. You can use anything for spacers, I just happened to have some old coffee cups. Then I placed the plastic tote with holes on top of the coffee cups. This way, the water from the worm bin can drain into the void and not drown the worms. Also you can harvest the “worm tea” for fertilizing your plants. It works great!
I filled the top tote with coffee grounds and sawdust.
The worms will also eat the paper filters, tea bags and the sawdust.
I put the worms in the coffee grounds, placed the sawdust on top to keep flies from laying eggs in the coffee grounds and wet the whole thing down. I put cardboard on top, the worms will eat that too!
Occasionally I put leftover vegetable scraps in the coffee grounds as well. The worms multiplied quickly and I would feed them to my chickens at times over the winter to supplement their diet. Eventually I moved the bin to a larger tote and then put it in my 300 gallon Rubbermaid livestock water bin (minus the water) when I decided to make a container garden in the spring.
It was such a success that I thought I should share it with you. Once my garden is spent, I will recapture some of the worms and start over this winter. The rest of the worms will be great for my chickens and compost pile! I think I will try meal worms next. They are so expensive to buy at the feed store….stay tuned!
I am still learning to garden but I am getting better at it. After moving to Northern Nevada it was quite a learning curve. High desert is not a great place for a garden, especially when your soil is pretty much a beach without the water. We also have serious winds and rapid temperature changes. Unless you are growing sagebrush, Russian olive trees or cactus, be prepared for high maintenance or creating your own climate zone with a greenhouse, or lots and lots of mulch like Jake Mace the Vegan Athlete (one of my favorite You Tube channels).
Since I like to recycle and do things on the cheap, I saved some organic bell pepper seeds to see if I could grow them. Using peat moss, azomite rock dust (thanks for the tip Jake), worm castings from my home made worm farm, and some of the abundant sand around here, I accidentally created some really great potting soil! If you don’t want to make your own, my husband and I have had great success with Happy Frog soil.
I had washed and dried my saved seeds, then carefully made an envelope out of a brown paper bag for storage. I shook some out into the soil and placed them in the sunny windowsill.
Now I had a problem. My bell peppers would never survive the winter outside. So now I had to keep them indoors. Luckily my master bathroom has a huge jacuzzi tub in a corner with east and south facing windows. It became a perfect spot for an indoor garden and hangout for our kitten Sweetie. Although I would not be able to feed my family, it was an inexpensive way to work on my green thumb.
I was so excited at my success, I ended up sprouting about 50 plants. Since I don’t have enough space to grow all of them up, I decided to use recycled plastic bottles to create small planters and give them away to co-workers.
Bell peppers taste so much better when you grow them yourself, even better than the organic bell peppers I saved the seeds from originally. They do take a long time to grow so I don’t rely on them as a food source, they’re more of a treat. For a regular source of healthy greens, I am learning to sprout sunflower seeds.
Container gardens are a great way to grow produce in a small space. With some careful planning a tender loving care, you can reap nature’s bounty on a small scale. This photo above is an actual harvest we grew on our back deck.