How to make a simple Domestic Composter

Food Composter, Indoor Food Compost Bin for Kitchen

After you read about how to be more sustainable would like to start doing your own home composting?
In this post there are informations about how to do it.

Having a home composting machine is a great way to reduce the amount of waste. That would go to landfills and also a way to change people’s relationship with the waste they generate.

Considering that we produce 600 grams of organic waste per day. It is necessary to dispose of our waste in a more sustainable way. So that they do not end up in landfills, contaminating soil and groundwater, even producing methane gas.

Learning how to make a composter avoids this type of emission and still produces a very rich resource: humus! In addition, it is also good for health. According to a study, contact with a bacterium present in the humus works as an antidepressant. So, decreases allergies, pain and nausea.

Vermicomposting is a type of compost that makes use of worms, more specifically, earthworms. It can be carried out in houses and apartments using domestic compost.

With this technique, there is the formation of vermicompost. This is the product obtained through the action of earthworms on organic residues. Vermicompost is also known as worm humus and is a great organic fertilizer, very rich in bacterial flora. Basically, it is “recycled” organic matter.

Get an indoor food compost made of biodegrable and durable bamboo fiber here.

Vermicomposting, earthworm or composting with earthworms can be done by following the following steps:

  1. Build the home of earthworms;
  2. Make the bed of earthworms;
  3. Add the worms;
  4. Feed your new pets;
  5. Perform periodic maintenance;
  6. Collect and use the humus

The vermicompost returns to the earth five times more nitrogen, twice as much calcium , two and a half times more magnesium, seven times more phosphorus and 11 times more potassium.

1. Build the home of earthworms

Take off a container to be home to earthworms. It will serve to stop leftover food, regulate system moisture and block light (which is harmful earthworms). There are several models of containers that are sold on the market, but you can also improvise one.

The container can be a wooden box that facilitates the circulation of oxygen and absorbs moisture. Remember to use wood that has not been chemically treated. With this, your container will have a longer life span, but chemicals can harm your earthworms. In addition to infiltrating your compost. If using these boxes there must be a plastic cover.

Stackable plastic boxes or buckets can also be used, and they must be opaque to block the light. It is necessary that the boxes are perfectly stackable, fitting easily into each other. The ideal is to stack three or more boxes, because while one is fed with waste the other will carry out the decomposition process. The last one will be to collect the biofertilizer (collection box).

To make the composter it is necessary to make 50 to 100 holes from four to six millimeters in diameter. Using a drill, drill several small holes in the bottom of your boxes. And in the cover, it is necessary to make a row with holes from 1 millimeter (mm) to 1.5 mm, respecting the space of two centimeters (cm) between them. (Be careful that the holes are not made on the cover fitting!). It is important to respect these measures because they are large enough to escape the vapors and small enough that the worms do not escape.

So you create a passage so that the worms can migrate and the liquid generated (biofertilizer) can be drained to the last collection box.

This biofertilizer collection box can contain a tap to drain the liquid or it can be removed manually. The nutrient-rich biofertilizer can be diluted at a ratio of 1/5 to 1/10, and can be sprayed on the leaves of your home garden or on your house plants.

2. Make the bed of earthworms

Add the worms and let them rest for about a week or two before starting to place the food scraps – this is for the worms to get used to the medium. These beings are capable of performing great tasks in this micro ecosystem, such as capturing and exchanging nitrogen with the air, immobilizing phosphorus, transforming complex substances into simple ones that are released into the air. It can be of great use to other living beings also present in the composting, improving soil structure, etc.

As the life of earthworms is to drill the soil to get around, on the way they unpack and make it more airy. In addition, they feed on organic waste and thus defecate the humus, which is very rich in nutrients. They do not like excessive sun and heat, so keep your composting in the shade and in an airy place. It is also important to keep the soil moist, not soaked.

The larger the container, the more earthworms it can support. It is estimated for each square meter (m²) of the container area an amount of 450 grams of earthworms or about 200 earthworms. The maximum depth should be 60 cm, with the ideal being approximately 30 cm as the worms prefer to live just below the surface of the soil. For a family of two, a 0.35 m² and 30 cm deep container is ideal.

3. Feed your new pets

Earthworms need a diet rich in leftover food to stay healthy and produce compost. Store your waste in a closed pot until it’s time to add it to the composting system. It can prevent flies from laying their eggs in these foods.

The ideal size of the particles is one to five centimeters, since the very large particles take longer to decompose. At the beginning, feed them only once a week with small portions accumulated in a corner. When they start to reproduce, give a proportion of 25% organic material per square meter weekly. Always after adding the organic material, cover the food with sawdust or dry leaves.

Earthworms eat vegetable and fruit scraps, various types of beans, tea leaves, coffee grounds and egg shells. Mix the organic material when feeding the worms, which will keep flies away. If you can, grind the organic material before introducing it into the compost bin, this will make the worms eat you faster when digesting smaller foods.

4. Perform periodic maintenance of the composter

The process does not end when inserting the waste. Your compost needs care to result in healthy earthworms and a good system functioning. Aeration is a very important factor in the vermicomposter, the organic material must be stirred periodically. The first aeration must take place in the thermophilic phase, that is, when the organic material is hot. After approximately 15 days of composting, turn the organic material over and then repeat the procedure about once a week.

Without the presence of oxygen, there is a delay in the decomposition of waste. The production of bad odors such as hydrogen sulphide and sulfur compounds that attract flies. If this happens, revolve the box more often with the organic material. Stop adding waste until the system returns to normal.

It takes about a month for the top box to be full. When this happens, replace it with the intermediate box, placing two fingers of soil mixed with sawdust. An then, making the bed earthworms.

In this second box, they should feel more secure, since there are no changes in temperature or humidity. It is a stable environment for the worms to escape if there is a problem in the top box. You have to leave this box resting until the middle box. It has now taken the place of the upper one, is completely filled. One month for the top box to fill and another month for the middle box to rest and produce humus.

The collection box (close to the floor) has to be emptied, or have its liquid collected through the tap, weekly. If this leachate is not drained occasionally, the fluids accumulate, making the system anaerobic (without the presence of oxygen). Then, it is producing odors and toxins that can eventually exterminate the poor earthworms.

Moisture is also a factor that must be observed constantly, the material must not be soaked or dry, the humidity must be between 55% and 60% and can be controlled with sawdust.

5. Collect and use the humus

The time required for the degradation of organic matter in the composting depends on several factors. You have to give special attention to obtain the best composting results. Usually with the optimum factors of the compost medium, composting takes between two to three months.

When ready, the compound has a dark color, from gray to black. Test the moisture of this compound in your hands. Take a sample and mold it with your fingers and rub it against your palm. If your hand is clean and the material breaks into pieces, the compound is raw; The part remains in hand, leaving a stain like coffee, the compost will be semi-cured; if your hand gets really dirty, will be cured the compost.

Some worms can die, but that’s okay, they must have multiplied a lot by now.

Open the box in daylight and wait a few minutes for the worms to descend into another box. They don’t like brightness. Remove the superficial humus and wait a few more minutes to remove another layer.

Use this nutrient-rich organic fertilizer in your plants or home garden and see the difference in plant growth!

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