So in working on the microgreens, and just container gardening in general, a concern that I’ve developed is an appropriate means of recycling the growth medium. Many times, I’ve found that after I grow something in a container, the substrate is too matted with roots and other biomass to be put to immediate use… so off to the composter it goes.
Fortunately/unfortunately, we use a relatively quick method of composting consisting of 55 gallon trash cans and black soldier fly larvae. Pictured below just to freak people out. The picture doesn’t do it justice, but we were converting about 5-10 lbs of food scraps daily to a secondary compost product (in case your wondering – chickens love black soldier fly larvae). The little specs you see up the sides of the trash can are the black soldier fly larvae.
The issue with our current composting process was that it went far too fast and it produced a sludgy by-product that had to be worked into the soil separately with other more stable substrates (namely leaves, straw, and wood mulch). It was by no means suitable for indoor use. Thus under our current compost regimen, we would lose our soil substrate to become general garden soil after each crop tray (a very expensive prospect over time). I wanted to develop a method that was capable of handling less intense composting needs (such as our trays of used soil) in a way that would allow for it to be cycled (quickly) back into indoor use.
After researching composting techniques a little more, I decided to make an indoor vermicomposter using a combined design from two videos (Video 1 and Video 2). The overall cost is around $50 ($20 for containers and creening, $30 for around 1000 red wigglers).
I had trouble finding the worms initially, but Villagers (an urban homestead shop) was nice enough to refer me to Garden Tea Company (who not only sold worms, but delivered them to me at work at no additional charge). We prepped the vermicomposter using a combination of shredded newspaper, leaves, and vegetable scraps over the weekend (wetting it generously using a mister and leaving it time to sit).
Today, when our worms arrived, we were able to add the worms to their new home. Updates to come on how they like living with us. The biggest concern at the moment is any smell issues as well as being able to maintain the temperature necessary.