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Closing the loop with worm castings

When we moved to a new apartment this spring, we asked ourselves, how we can set up our home as sustainable as possible, as well as simple and cozy. Among other things, we thought about introducing worm composting. So, we researched what products could help us do that. We were especially excited, about the Swiss project WormUp. So we immediately contacted the young enthusiastic worm WormUp team with the suggestion that we could report about their product and receive a discount in return. After getting their agreement they organized a WormUp training in a package free shop called, Atout Vrac right around the corner of our Restaurant Bliss in Fribourg. Prospi took part in the training and got lots of insights about dealing with the WormUp worm compost. He came back home with the aesthetic new WormUp compost, which now replaces our former bright green plastic compost bins and fits perfectly with our big and beautiful kitchen.

Why should I get a worm composter?

Although the WormUp worm composter is really aesthetic, this is of course not the main reason to get a worm composter. The vision behind the product is to close loops on a small scale, in the spirit of permaculture. Thanks to the worm compost a part of the waste we produce does not leave our house anymore. Instead, the waste is converted into a nutrient-rich fertilizer we can use for our plants. In this natural cycle, there is no waste, because everything is converted into something beneficial.

How does it work?

The principle of worm composting is quite simple and also occurs in nature. At the start, the worm composter is filled with some soil and many worms. The worms feed on the waste and other biodegradable elements we give them and expel the food as worm castings that can be used as an extremely nutrient-rich fertilizer.

Week 1: First encounter with the worms

A few days after Prospi attended the WormUp training and bought the composter, we received the worms mixed with some soil by mail. We were told the date of arrival by email in advance. Because we came home late that day, we immediately put the worms into the composter. For this, we had to set up the WormUp composter first, which was really easy thanks to the instructions on the training. To ensure sufficient moisture, we added some water and wet cardboard. We also fed the worms for the first time with raw organic remains and dead leaves from our indoor plants.

Week 2: Mold is normal

Gradually, have added more organic waste. To our surprise, a huge mold flower evolved. Although we already knew from the training that mold can occur, we were unsure whether this amount of mold is normal. Therefore, we contacted the WormUp team and were reassured shortly thereafter with a reply E-mail.

Week 3: It grows!

The waste mountain inside our composter grew and grew and we were not sure if a part of it has already transformed into soil. That’s why we decided to add slightly less organic waste until a clear change would be visible. The mold bloom, however, had disappeared. Instead, pumpkin seeds we threw in some days ago started to sprout.

Week 4: Wait and control the moisture

Because we still found much more organic waste compared to earth, we decided to stop adding additional waste at all for the time being. We consulted the WormUp website again to check what the accurate approach should be. We found that they repeatedly mentioned, how important correct humidity is, so we followed that advice and controlled it regularly. We applied that by continuously adding soaked cardboard pieces of finished toilet paper rolls to the composter.

Week 5: The Black gold appears

After adding only small and fine organic waste to the composter such as salad leaves for a while, it now looked as if the worms finally caught up with degrading the waste. The proportion of compost compared to earth shrunk dramatically. The black gold, the nutrient-rich soil slowly started appearing! Without adding more moisture the composter stayed pretty moist.

Week 6: Harvesting the fertilizer

The time had come! We harvested the first fertilizer and gave it to one of our indoor plants, which didn’t look so good. We hope that it will flourish anew from the nutrient-rich soil we added. The fertilizer would obviously also work for plants growing on the balcony or in the garden, but this will only be relevant to us next spring. We are looking forward to having a WormUp composter filled with black gold until then.

Verdict: To whom would we recommend the WormUp worm composter?

We particularly recommend the WormUp composter to people who own plants – be it indoors, on the balcony, or in the garden – and who want to nourish them with a superb, natural, low-cost and packaging-free fertilizer. Also, the worm composter is suitable for all, who often eat fruits and vegetables and want to close the loop with the non-edible parts, to produce no waste in consequence. Not to forget, the worm composter is also recommended to all, who want an aesthetic and at the same time scentless composter.

Kind regards

Lisa

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