Vermicomposting Trenches

April 26, 2009

vermicomposting trench

Last summer I wrote about my attempt to deal with huge quantities of compostable waste materials from a very popular local restaurant. As mentioned, it was certainly a serious challenge, and in the end I had to abandon the project since I simply couldn’t keep up with all the material (keep in mind, I live on a fairly small suburban property – haha).

One of the really positive things to come from the experience was my discovery of the ‘vermicomposting trench’ method. In desperation, I came up with various waste-burial strategies since they seemed to be the best bet for reducing foul odours.

To learn all about my fun with vermicomposting trenches, be sure to check out my ‘trench wrap-up post‘ over at – there are links at the end, leading to the various other posts I wrote on the topic.

Anyway, I’ve decided to use my trenches this year, and to create at least a couple more. I’m happy to report that I’ll be taking a much more leisurely approach however – I learned my lesson as far as biting off more than I can chew goes! I have been seeking out sources of organic waste, but am making sure I’m dealing with amounts I can handle.

Unlike last year, farmyard manure will likely play an important role in keeping my trenches (and of course the plants) fed. Red Worms absolutely go crazy for aged manure, so it should be a win/win situation for sure.

I check the status of the trenches recently, and was amazed to find loads of small Red Worms alive and well! I’ve seen how cold-hardy these worms can be, yet I still never cease to be amazed by how easily they seem to survive southern Ontario winters.

Another material I’ll likely be using a lot of is coffee grounds. I was given a large quantity of them earlier this spring, and am hoping to secure a steady supply of them moving forward. Once it is wet and starts to decompose, the worms seem to go absolutely will for this material.

As far as what I’ll be growing goes, I don’t think too much will change along the fence-line. I love tomatoes and zucchinis too much to trade them for something else. I was however thinking of moving my pumpkin patch from the sandbox garden (if you checked out those other trench articles you will know what I’m talking about) and growing some corn in this bed this year. Given the size of the sandbox bed, I think it will be more for show than anything – I certainly won’t get a huge crop of corn. But I DO like to have a nice demonstration garden, so it should be fun. I was thinking of growing runner beans along with the corn (the way the native indians did) – they will help to provide nitrogen for the corn plants, and can use the rigid stalks for support.

I was also thinking of putting in an all-natural privacy fence of sunflower plants along my back fence-line. To help fertilize these plants I will run a trench in front of that bed as well.

Anyway, I’ll certainly be writing more about all this as the season progresses.

If you are looking for an interesting green gardening strategy and/or a great way to actually benefit from adding composting worms to your garden, this is an excellent approach. Obviously, adding LOTS of worms would be the best way to kit the ground running, but even inoculation with a bag of Compost Ecosystem would get your worm population started.


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