- Ian Llewellyn
- Wappingers Falls, New York, United States
- WormPeople.com Profile (must be signed in)
When, Why & How I Started Worming
I purchased an old farm property 5+ years ago that had fallen into disuse. It is just
over 18 of the original 25 acres. The property lines are rock walls, as is common in
this area of the country.
I have wanted to get this property included in the adjacent agricultural district, but
have struggled to figure out how. I started researching agroforestry and silviculture. Somehow, this ended up in an interest in composting, which in turn led me to worming.
Last year, I made an experimental raised bed garden. I quickly realized that the soil requirements for such an endeavor are large. I purchased much of the soil for use in the garden at a great cost (much more than the materials used to build the
I then started looking into my own natural resources on the property. I have been
collecting wood chips for almost the entire 5 years. And I had lots of leaves from
the over 2000 trees I have on the property. What I didn't have were the "greens."
So I approached the local grocery/nursery/farming supply store with an idea.
I would take their spoiled produce and reduce their waste costs and incorporate
that into my small composting operation. While collecting from the store, I made
friends with one of the employees who had done college level coursework in
composting and mentioned Bokashi composting. I have been running Bokashi
trials and the results are extremely promising. I recently learned from a podcast
that Bokashi can be used to feed worms. Talk about coming full circle back to
As I was getting the fledgling operation off the ground, I would collect worms from
around my property an add them to both my raised beds and mature compost
piles (after the temps dropped to a reasonable temp). This led me to explore vermicomposting and lead me to Captain Matt's channel. I was hooked from the first episode. I recently purchased an Urban Worm Bag and purchased and cut PVC tubing to the specs in Captain Matt's video. I just returned from a work trip and will be assembling the bag and frame and then will put some red wigglers to work.
I would like to one day turn this hobby into a small commercial operation. There is
something satisfying about redirecting landfill waste into something that is very
valuable, both castings and teas. My timeframe is within the year, 2023. The store
that I collect spoiled produce has expressed some interest in putting my product
on the shelves as they love to sell local produce.
Biggest Lesson Learned
My biggest challenges are time. I travel for work at least half the month. The other
challenge has been to crunch numbers for the operation. This is a relatively
unheard of type of product, and understanding how much and for how much
product I can move has been elusive. I may just have to roll the dice and stick my
neck out a bit and see what happens.
I Wish I Knew Earlier
As we go into the winter, I wish I'd known about vermicomosting earlier. Perhaps it would have changed some of the designs of my compost bins, etc. But I have all
of next year and a few yards of compost that will be ready in the spring.
My Worm People Wish
I hope that composting, and more specifically, worm farming reduces the food
waste in landfills, increase productivity in peoples gardens and ultimately reduce
the amounts of synthetic fertilizers used in commercial farming. A lofty goal, I
know, but if more people in the industry knew about the benefits of compost,
vermicompost and other related products, I think we could see a shift in