Thursday, February 03, 2011

Kitchen Scraps Mulch

I wasn't sure what to call this post.  It's a mix of a lot of things and I'm not sure what the main theme is.  Consider this.  I have tons of paper waste and all my vermicomposting bins are absolutely loaded with them.  I also have a lot of kitchen scraps accumulated throughout the week, but as I said my worm bins are loaded.  I have nowhere to put the green scraps.  I have limited soil and / or vermicompost.  I just used my vermicompost to pot one of my sweet basil cuttings.  I just buy vermicast with rice hull and I didn't want to use up that supply when I can use something else for free.    My Habanero keeps drying up and complaining because it's such a water hog so I'll need to transfer it to a bigger pot that can hold more water.

Still following?  Have you figured out how this all ties in?  I'll give you a few seconds (humming the theme from Jeopardy).

Well here's my hairbrained scheme.  I nearly emptied a big pot where I plan to transplant my Habanero.  Then I placed a whole newspaper to cover the little soil.  It'll be used as bedding and moisture preservation.  Then I dumped my kitchen waste over the newspaper.  Then I put in a few African Nightcrawlers (about 4) to help decompose that waste.  I covered that whole thing with a newspaper page again.  At this point, the big pot is already 3/4 full.  Finally I transplanted the Habanero from the small pot to the big pot and watered thoroughly.

I figured that the worms should hasten the decomposition of the kitchen scraps and turn them into vermicompost which will be good for the Habanero. But since the kitchen scraps are not sufficiently aged yet, I added some existing substrate too so the worms have something to eat in the meantime.  The newspapers are there, as I mentioned for bedding.  Besides, from what I've read composting worms don't really live in soil.  So it's like a put in a mini worm bin inside the pot.  I hope that works.  They're also sandwiched so that even though the Habanero will be placed under direct sunlight, the worms don't get baked.  They can just hide in the middle of the pot where it's always moist.  When the Habanero roots outgrow the present soil, the newspaper and kitchen scraps should be half decomposed already and should start to benefit the plant.

Will it work?  I don't know.  But my measures of success are these: 1) the Habanero lives for at least the next two weeks and; 2) the Habanero stops wilting on almost a daily basis.  I will accept once-a-week wilting.  If this works, you might find that I'm transplanting plants to bigger pots more frequently.

I hope it works!  Now I'll share the pictures.  I numbered them for convenience. 


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