Currently, the city of Surrey “strongly supports backyard composting as a great way to divert some organic wastes generated at home”, according to the city website. The City promotes composting through the sale of backyard composters called Earth Machines to Surrey residents at a subsidized cost of $25/each. (Surrey compost bin information is on the municipal website here.) Earth Machines are great for outdoor use in that they are ventilated and rodent proof.
For many users of the Earth Machine, adding worms can accelerate the composting process. Since they are not designed specifically for worm composting, guidelines for how to use them as worm composters are below.
Different ways to use the municipal Earth Machine:
The Earth Machine can facilitate an active “hot composting” process — if turned frequently, the compost may reach temperatures that are too hot for worms. If large batches of grass clippings are be added, this can also result in hot compost that is inhospitable to worms. People who like to actively turn a compost bin should not add worms to this system.
However most people use their Earth Machines passively, which is worm friendly: adding yard trimmings, leaves, and kitchen scraps to the top of the bin and collecting compost from the bottom. Passively managed bins stay at a moderate temperature that is fine for red wiggler worms. The benefit of adding worms is that they do the turning and aerating for you and create a richer compost. If you do decide to add worms to your Earth Machine, there are a couple of care tips:
-First, keep the bin in a shady area.
-Second, to keep the worms thriving, you will want to add water periodically so it stays moist for the worms.
-Third, keep adding plenty of kitchen scraps to the bin so the worms don’t decide to look elsewhere for food!
If you have questions about using an Earth Machine for composting, contact us.
There are many possible setups for outdoor and indoor composting. For more general information on starting up this and other types of compost bins, go to the Startup Page.