Worm tower, with lettuce seedlings growing around it.
Something new I have done out in the garden this year is a series of “worm towers.”
Like keyhole gardening, lasagna gardening, hugelkultur, or sheet composting, worm towers are a way to integrate composting in to your growing space, creating a biodynamic environment that is rich in nutrients and beneficial microorganisms, as well as an environment that is welcoming to soil-tilling worms.
I built my worm towers with leftover plastic piping, as well as cardboard tubing, and a handheld drill.
The towers can be made of almost any durable material (my cardboard towers disintegrate after a season, but the PVC pipe will last for years), and should basically consist of a half-buried tube or bucket, with holes large enough so worms can enter and exit. It is best to cover the top of the tower with an inverted pot to discourage rodents or birds from digging in it.
You add compost from the top, and the worms break it down and carry it out through the holes and open bottom, leaving rich casings from which the neighbouring plants to derive nutrition.
If you have a dog or cat, I would encourage you to install a worm tower. Though not safe to vermicompost in food-producing beds, pet waste can be disposed of in a worm tower that is located in a lawn or ornamental garden. If you have a problem with folks leaving pet waste in your area, you can install a worm tower, as well as a “pooper scooper" (on a chain so nobody steal it), and encourage people to place the waste in the composter, all the while not using plastic bags.
Diagram: Ecofilms Australia
Dog photo: Bay OK
I am totally doing this!