The Cottage Smallholder


stumbling self sufficiency in a small space

Dog poo wormery

 

Photo: Doo poo wormery

Photo: Doo poo wormery

We have two compost heaps and a large traditional kitchen waste composter but still need more compost than we can make. So I started looking at the possibility of investing in a worm composter. The worm casts that are made create a great compost and the wormery also collects a liquid feed that can be diluted and fed to plants and shrubs.

Organic fertilisers can be very expensive. Although we are now making comfrey and nettle tea, sometimes plants need that extra boost.

Then I discovered that there are wormerys that convert dog poo into fertiliser and compost. Even though our three Min Pins are small getting rid of their poo means putting it in the dustbin and adding to landfill each week. A dog poo wormery would be ideal as we would need to feed the worms so poop would not be left lying around for long. As our garden is quite big we generally clear up once a every few days.

Both of us loathe this task. So sometimes it gets ‘forgotten’ – and this oversight can almost guarantee a surprise visit from a friend. They always ask to see the garden and I stalk in front pointing out dangers (it’s embarrassing). With a wormery we could keep up to date each day – no more messy surprises (dog poo seems to stick like glue to boots and shoes). And we would be disposing of the Min Pin poo to create fertiliser and compost for us. No air miles. No landfill.

I had considered making my own wormery but I’m so busy at the moment that I just don’t have the time. But now I actually have seen the mechanics of our wormery I might just make one for kitchen scraps once the garden is planted up in a few weeks time. But as you can see from the photo I still need to paint the rendering repairs that I made to the cottage two years ago! The worms are expensive but as Joe Hashman points out in his book On the Plot by Dirty Nails all you have to do to attract the right sort of composting worm to your plot is to purloin some well rotted manure from a local farmer/stables or buy a bag of well rotted manure (Homebase sells this) make a few slits in it for entrance holes and leave it in a shady spot for a few months. The right sort of composting worms are not just farmed they are living in your garden.

Rootle through an ordinary kitchen waste composter and you will see what I mean. It will be full of worms that are different from the worms that you bump into when digging your borders.

The great thing about being off work is that I can research things in depth. I finally ordered a dog poo worm farm from Cale Barn Worms who sell through Amazon and on eBay. I chose the eBay route as the postage was a bit cheaper. The complete kit was £49.95 + £7.95 p&p delivered by courier within two days (worms and bedding are heavy).

Why did I chose the Tumbleweed wormery from Cale Barn Worms? Initially they caught my eye as they were cheaper than a lot of their competitors but they were the one company that included 1500 worms in their kit. They pointed out that the more worms that you have in the wormery the quicker that the dog poo or kitchen scraps are digested. Of course the worms will breed but this takes time.

Most standard wormeries come with 500 worms. So you have to wait until they breed successfully to start really reaping the benefits.

The Cale Barn wormery unit also has a drainage pipe rather than a tap so there is no danger of the worms drowning if you forget to draw off the liquid at the bottom. The pipe is inset so I sited the unit on a plastic crate and put a bucket under the drainage pipe and a piece of clear plastic that was knocking about in the garden to keep the rain out from the open area of the bucket. My choice of bucket was a bit overenthusiastic as the liquid takes quite some time to build up!

The Tumbleweed wormery was developed in Australia so is made of high grade plastic so is guaranteed for five years.

The only drawback is that the liquid fertiliser and compost from a dog poo wormery cannot be used on vegetables or in areas where children play. As we now have a large flower garden and no children we can use all the fertiliser and compost that this unit can produce.

So we will be using our ordinary kitchen waste composter solely to make compost for the kitchen garden.

Kitchen waste cannot be mixed with dog poo. Dog poo is already pre digested and can be gone in 48 hours. Apparently the worms take away the smell of the dog poo as well.

We have had our wormery for just three days so I will report back on its progress within a month or so.

You can buy the Cale Barn Worms Tumbleweed dog poo wormery from their eBay shop or  buy their Pet Poo Converter as it is delicately called on Amazon.


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7 Comments

  1. How has this been working for you? I have noticed that the dog poo converter has been discontinued – I have been considering making my own version but if it was discontinued because it didn’t work, I would like to avoid wasting my time. Thanks for your post!

  2. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Tim

    At the moment the worms are eating the poo very slowly but apparently it takes time to get them firing on all cylinders. The instruction manual says that you have to be patient in the early stages.

    Hi Velvet Goldmine

    I think that the article probably meant that you can’t mix kitchen waste with dog poo as dog poo is much quicker to break down.

    I will keep you updated as to the progress of our wormery.

  3. velvet goldmine

    This is really interesting. Disposing of poo is one of the things that has put me off getting dogs. I had read that animal waste was a no-no for wormeries, but obviously if models are made just for this purpose the article I read was wrong, or not extensive enough. Please keep us updated!

  4. Wow what a cool idea, I will be looking out with interest for updates on this. My labrador produces more than her fair share I feel 🙂 so this would be excellent.

  5. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Emma

    I really want the dog poo composter to work for us – they are devouring the poo very slowly!

    great idea about fertilising the comfrey. I bought a comfrey plant in the Autumn and have started a patch – hoping that it will spread.

    Hi Michelle in NZ

    The price of wormeries has come down a lot in the UK so I reckoned it was a good time to invest. If the dog poo one works well I’m definitely going to make a kitchen waste one as we spend so much on bags of compost in Spring and early Summer.

  6. Michelle in NZ

    What a great idea – the Min pins will be contributing to the flowers for your stall.

    I’ve thought about a worm farm for my kitchen waste, but in the meantime use a compost bin. I was amazed at how fast the massive courgette plant broke down. Initially it filled the entire bin, 3 weeks later the level is below half way.

    Sending care and huggles to you all, Michelle and Zebbycat (snuggled under a quilt as he warms up the bed for me)

  7. We are hoping to have a dog (or dogs) at some point in the future, so I will be watching your progress with interest on this one. Although you can’t use the compost on kitchen crops directly, you could always use it to fertilize a comfrey patch and then use the comfrey to make a liquid feed that’s good for tomatoes 🙂

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