City Dweller Easy Worm Compost

We're outlying city dwellers. We live in a largish house on a tinyish bit of land. Our whole backyard measures about 18'x66', which isn't much room for the kids to play plus a garden. We've opted for a flower/shrub garden (using water-conserving native plants) since we will have to re-sell the house within a year or so, and most people around here don't appreciate fruit and veg gardens in tiny yards. Especially when you can buy it so cheap from the markets (see previous post).

What we have found, to our shock and horror (being from the ultra-fertile midwest USA, where you stick it in the ground, forget it, and it grows), is that NOTHING grows here. NOTHING. Here's proof:

This is a picture of the unimproved "soil" alongside our house. We have lived here for 3 years. This is what grows here. Nothing. Actually, during the winter months, weeds will establish in this section, but they die off in summer. No water, no nutrients -- it's just sand.

So over the past 3 years we have planted, watered, re-planted, watered, put in irrigation, re-planted, fertilized, watered and replanted. We are unsuccessful. Totally. Our grass is tan, our plants die or barely hang on to life.

Trying to remedy this naturally, we discovered worm farms. But decided that lack of space and lack of time and really, not wanting to mess with it, was going to nix that idea. Until we discovered THESE:

It's just a big mayonnaise bucket (think Sams Club size) buried in the ground. Here's what's inside:

Under the scraps in the bucket are worms. We had to buy the worms -- there were NONE in our sandy soil. It's a covered, perpetual worm farm.

To make one, you drill large holes with a circle drill bit (like door-knob size) into the bottom half of the bucket. This is for the worms to go in and out of the bucket. Add some dirt, some kitchen scraps (no citrus, meat or onions) and the worms. Add some more dirt. If you live in super dry conditions as we do, add some water too. Put the lid on firmly.

Wow -- no rats, no flies, no smell. The worms come and go as they please in the bottom half of the bucket, and as they come and go, they leave their castings in the soil to enrich it. You just take out your kitchen scraps, top up the bucket and put the lid back on.

I guess there's more to it if you want to get technical, but that's what we do . We've planted a whole new garden, again, and I'll let you know if the perpetual covered no-work worm farms help.
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