Our recent soil test results have shown that we can now transition from building soil fertility to maintaining it, which will require a lot less work and bring us closer to our ideal of a do-nothing garden. In particular, we can make much less compost and we can downsize our indoor vermicomposting operation. To get started, I’ll share why we are eliminating 3 of our 8 indoor worm bins by moving the worms to an outdoor bin. This will reduce our workload in a number of ways. As our indoor population of red wigglers has grown over the years, it has become increasingly difficult to find enough food for them. As a result, we’ve collected free local resources like used coffee grounds and spent brewery grains as an additional food source. Though I think this is an excellent strategy when building soil fertility, our soil has reached the point where it’s no longer necessary and we can save ourselves the time and effort. One advantage of having the worms outside is that there’s already an ample supply of decaying organic matter for them to consume, including autumn leaves, grass clippings, comfrey, wood chips, and garden waste, so there’s no need to find additional food sources for them. We’re also going to stop composting external free local resources until very high nutrient levels in the soil come down. And with so many red wigglers in the garden, most of the compost will come from vermicomposting, not hot composting. This saves us the trouble of having to turn compost piles. And, since we won’t be using as much compost in the garden, we can let the piles sit longer and allow red wigglers to thoroughly break down the material before adding it to the garden. This will reduce the amount of sifting required, which is, by far, my least favorite gardening chore. The final advantage is that, with fewer indoor worm bins, we won’t have to shred as much paper and cardboard to serve as bedding for the worms. Instead, we’ll simply place the material in the recycle bin, which requires considerably less effort. Autumn leaves will serve as bedding in the outdoor bins. Now, I’ll show you how I’ll transfer worms from our indoor bins into an outdoor bin. I’ll start with this bin, which I never converted to an easy-to-use flow through bin, and am happy to get rid of. This outdoor bin is a perfect environment for the worms. It’s spacious, has plenty of ventilation and is full of leaves, used coffee grounds, garden waste, grass clippings, and food scraps. The pile is not hot, so it’s safe for the worms. To transfer the worms into the outdoor bin, I simply lay a heavy-duty plastic bag that has many holes punched in it over the material. I then dump the contents of the indoor bin on top of the plastic bag and spread them around. As you can see, the castings are absolutely loaded with worms. The food source below and the sunlight above will motivate the worms to move down through the holes in the plastic bag into the outdoor worm bin. I’ll give the worms a couple weeks to migrate into the new bin, and then I’ll add the castings, along with any remaining worms, to the garden. I’ll follow a similar process with two more indoor bins, bringing our total from 8 down to 5, and I’ll likely reduce the number of indoor bins further in the future. Before next winter I plan to build a walk-in hoop house with new raised beds and cold frames in this location. I’ll add the castings from the outdoor worm bin into the new beds, and I’ll move the worms to a new worm bin that I’ll build inside the hoop house. As I’ve shown in the past, red wigglers can survive and even thrive during our zone 5 winters with sufficient protection from the cold. So, we’ve reached a point in our garden where we can move from building soil fertility to maintaining it. As part of this transition, we’ll downsize our indoor vermicomposting operation, put more worms to work directly in the garden, and make less hot compost, These changes will significantly reduce the amount of work we do in the garden and get us a little closer to our ideal of a do-nothing garden. Well, that’s all for now. Thank you very much for watching, and until next time remember you can change the world one yard at a time.