Worm composting kitchen scraps dog poop and card board boxes

by Bob Deering
(Juneau, Alaska)

I worm compost kitchen scraps and dog poop in my worm bin. It's basically an insulated wooden box divided down the middle totaling about 10 square feet. I fill one side, and once full I shift to the other. Once that's full I empty the first side and start over. This is usually a yearly event. I use the castings on ornamental plants.

I've recently discovered that torn up cardboard boxes make a great amendment to the bin.

The cardboard covers recently added material which helps preventing flies, and the worms quickly eat it. I moisten it down if it gets dry. I keep a box of it next to the bin and add a new layer of cardboard weekly.

A great way to deal with Amazon boxes. I don't worry about tape or staples, they get removed when I spread the material.

I'm going to propose that my city implement something like this at local walking trailheads where dog poop is a contentious issue.

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Aug 25, 2016
Re:Worm composting kitchen scraps dog poop and card board boxes
by: Stephan

Hello Bob,

thank you for your interesting post about your worm composting set up. It sounds as if you have been doing it for years. How do you protect your worms from the heat which I expect could become a problem in Alaska from time to time?

Do you have a picture of your worm bin that you could share with our readers?

Cardboard boxes are really great to use in worm bins as they serve several purposes in worm composting. As you mentioned it is good to soak the torn cardboard boxes in water before adding them to a worm bin. If you cover the whole surface of your bin with the cardboard it will act as a natural barrier against some unwanted intruders like flies and soldier flies and will assist as well to keep the bedding and food underneath moist for longer. Although I usually cover everything including the cardboard in my worm farms with a sheep of opaque plastic to keep the content of the bin moist for longer.

Another benefit that cardboard has for worms in a bin is that it can be used as a worm bedding as well which gives them places to hide if other areas of the bin have become to acidic for the worms to pass through safely.

The cardboard boxes are loved by the worms mainly for the corn starch glue that is usually used to glue them together. Worms thrive on it and are really attracted to crawl into the open spaces between the walls of the corrugated boxes.

Lastly large corrugated cardboard boxes can as well be used to protect worms from dying in the sun. Some compost worms like to crawl out of their worm bins at night especially when it rains heavily and their bins are exposed to the rain. If they don't find cover the next morning when the sun comes up or predators like birds might spot them they will either dry out within a few minutes or end up as a snack in the mouth of a hungry bird.
However we found out years ago that a cardboard box placed flat on the ground next to a worm bin can give the worms food and shelter for days or even weeks. In order to prevent losses of worms in the worm farms that are standing outside we placed corrugated cardboard boxes around or underneath the bins.

After a few weeks with and some heavy rains we collected the wet cardboard boxes and gave them into the worm bins. We counted the amount of worms that we collected out of one of those boxes and ended up with more than 900 worms that we safed in this one box alone.

So like you mentioned we add all our extra cardboard and newspapers to our worm bins. The worms take care of the rest.

I can only encourage you to go through with your idea to contact the waste management department of your home town concerning the composting of dog poop with the help of earthworms. The worms love dog poop as well and it could be a win win situation for the municipality that could get free organic plant food and the walking and running would be much more pleasurable for everyone again.

The dog poop issue seems to be a problem in many parts of the word. Just this week I read an article that mentioned that more than a hundred dogs had been killed last year in Germany by dog haters who placed meat balls in the path where dogs usually where walking with their owners. The meat balls contained fishing hooks, screws and poison which let the poor dogs die in a slow and agonizing way.

So I encourage anyone to start recycle dog poop in worm farms. Its simple and good for the environment.

I wish you all the best Bob and hope your worm composting efforts will continue to be successful.

Kind regards

Stephan Kloppert

Author of "How to start a profitable worm business on a shoestring budget"

Editor of "www.worm-composting-help.com

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