Saturday, August 14, 2021

Over-wintering Mason Bees

Permaculture magazine, issue 109 Autumn 2021The following post has been published in the Autumn 2021 copy of, the quite brilliant, Permaculture magazine, which is available to buy from  https://shop.permaculture.co.uk/permaculture-magazine-issue109.html

Sunday, August 08, 2021

Feeding The SubPod Wormery

It's a couple of months now since I received my SubPod wormery from Wiggly Wigglers and blogged about how I set it up - https://blog.sherlock.co.uk/2021/05/unboxing-and-setting-up-subpod-wormery.html

It's an absolute doddle to look after - so easy in fact that you can forget you have it, especially when you have other more standard tray wormeries to look after.  With tray wormeries every time it rains (it's summer in the UK so that's a fair bit) you have to check the sump as the last thing you want is your worms drowning due to excess liquid building up - that and the fact said liquid is an amazing plant feed for tomatoes, bedding plants and hanging baskets etc so should absolutely NOT be wasted!

Anyway, here's a (very quick and quite poorly filmed) video of me checking the SubPod and adding some new food.


And finally, I added that layer of shredded paper I mentioned at the end of the video.


How Am I Finding It?

Except for the precious space it is taking up in my (very small) raised vegetable patch I am loving it, and I will most likely expand the vegetable patch anyway to gain more room to grow more.  

It really is the most hassle free wormery I currently own as there's no need to worry about liquid collecting in the sump as it seeps into the ground around it, feeding the soil and, therefore, the plants.

Remember, you don't really need to feed plants, but do need to feed the soil - improving the health of your soil automatically improves that of your plants, making them stronger, more resistant to pests and better able to deal with the weather (both wet and dry).

And, whereas in a tray system (such as the Can-o-worms, Worm Cafe, Urbalive and Worm City etc) the worms are stuck in a container and therefore susceptible to changes in pH and liquid levels, the SubPod makes life very much easier for them as they can just travel through the holes in the part buried in the soil and come back when they are ready.  Some people may fear that they all escape and not come back, but there's no need to worry about that at all - if you keep the level of food waste up then they will come from far and wide for a good feed, and likely brings friends from elsewhere as well.

So, it is going well so far and the worms are working the waste nicely.  It's still too soon to find how easy (or not) emptying it will be but if the theory of stopping feeding one side and start on the other until all the worms have moved across is true (no reason for it not to be) then it shouldn't be any harder than a tray system, and likely quite a bit easier. 

Bokashi

I often see people in composting groups asking about adding Bokashi to wormeries.  I have done this in the past but you really have to be careful of how much and how often you add Bokashi waste because it can change the pH and cause issues within the bin.  I once lost a 10 year old established wormery to protein poisoning as a result of over-feeding and it is not a pleasnt experience (and smells like you wouldn't believe).

However, in the SubPod you could try adding normal waste on one side and Bokashi waste on the other, safe in the knowledge that the worms can travel freely (out of the bin if necessary) and come back when the pH has leveled off and the waste is in an easier state for them to consume.

I have yet to put this theory into practise as I mostly Bokashi during the Winter months these days, or in my HotBin, but I do hope to do some experimenting later in the year to see if this theory works OK.