With an expanding worm population, it was time to make the bin less crowded and feed my plants with the nutrient rich worm castings.

In the greenhouse I pulled the weaker tomato plants out to install my second vermicompost area. Boy does the soil in there need it! I think you can literally see why I went heavy on the organic fish fertilizer this year.

worms from the vermicompost bin

Right below these few worms was a roiling mass of worms.

I used my trusty spading fork to break up this dirt for about the 5th time in a year. This clay is almost as hard as concrete, and the fertilizer broke it up just a little bit. There are no worms of any kind in this soil. Well, these red wrigglers are going to bust it up a lot.

sterile clay chunks of useless dirt

The reason I’ve switched over to vermicompost is because it’s quicker, richer and rewarding. In just 3 months time I will have the entire greenhouse converted to a rich loam by feeding the worms (vermiculture) enough to double their population every 2 weeks. This exponential growth is easily achieved with the food scraps from 3 people. The soil will once again befertile.

I read somewhere online that it’s a good practice to compost the tomato vines right where they grew. To that end I have vines, green and rotting tomatoes along with some worm smoothie in a garbage can that should be unholy mess in a week or so. But spading the ground and feeding it, the worms will follow after the food.

a 4 foot long pit where I need to improve the soil

The first of 12 pits to improve the greenhouse soil over the next 3 months. With traditional composting it would take two to three years to improve this typical Front Range clay soil.

Notes:
Having the vermicompost bin inside is very handy, especially in winter. You can have a fully functioning vermicompost outside in winter as long as you keep it very well insulated. John uses old refrigerators turned on their backs.

John is the Colorado Worm Man. See his website Colorado Worm Man