Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Worms - A sign of health!

In our clean modern homes in the concrete jungle, worms are the last wee beasties we expect on our balconies way up on high, but even here they are wonderful creatures that help the soil in our pots remain balanced and aerated, while adding to the nutritional value. I even found one today in my large snail shell pot! I had to take the plant out of its shell for some plant housekeeping and there it was lying against the wall very comfortable. As the shell had a small break that I wanted to fix, I had to take it out and put it on the soil. It soon disappeared into the cool dark and that was when I remembered that I hadn't taken a photo of it in the shell first. I wouldn't make a good paparazzi!
Anyway, it reminded me of the two little composts that the girls and I started four months ago. We'd made them in two plastic waste paper bins from Ikea and had put some compost from my friend's one in to help start it. The loam from hers was so rich and full of worms and good bugs. I made layers in one bin with soil and garden waste and some the loam and put a lid on it. 

In the other one, I only filled it half way anticipating putting more leaves etc in it over the months. We did fill it up, but it never had a lid. I think that was an important point for when I opened up the lidded one I found beautiful dark soil. However, the other one hadn't worked as successfully as it had got too dry. I'd only watered them both every couple of weeks. For the lidded one that was perfect as too much water can drown the helpful critters. For the open one, it wasn't enough and it was too dry. I've put some of the dark soil from the lidded one on top to introduce some new worms to the brew and I'll get a new lid tomorrow.

Composting is great fun and very easy to do. Over the last four months I've hardly given the buckets much attention and they did their thing quite happily. I want to transfer some plants and I can use the new soil to do it in. What's even better is that it doesn't smell at all. My living room area opens directly onto the balcony and the bins were just to the side out of sight, but not very far away and there is never a whiff. 
If you want to learn more about how to make compost try this link D.I.Y Wormery and Compost.  I liked Gareth Hogan's resource as it specifically mentions small spaces and we all need to think about that.
He mentions making money from composting. I'm not sure if that's possible here in KL, but I'd like to get my condo into composting. 
Do you compost? I'd love to hear about your experiences.


  1. Composting is fun. How the recipe for a healthy soil is carried out quitely.... free, and cheap.

  2. Yes. :) Do you have a compost in your garden?

  3. Your Ikea container is A+ grade for a compost bin. I only use cheap, big ceramic flower pots for my composting. As for the worms, I'll tap on the ground and when they stick out their heads, I'll pull them out and put them into my bins ;>)

  4. LOL. The containers look great don't they, but they're cheap. I actually started using them because we had too many. For some reason we were buying one almost every time we went to IKEA at one stage.
    I like your worm catching :) I can't do that on my balcony, but I used to do it with my daughter in NZ. She had great fun getting worms for our compost and garden.