Written by Angus Stewart
One of the most important responsibilities in pet ownership lies in ensuring that pet poo does not end up in situations where it may cause harm or damage to people, other pets or the environment. Cat and dog poo especially, is capable of carrying pathogens that can affect humans and other animals, and thus needs to be handled in a hygienic way. Another major problem is that when dog poo is left in the street when people are walking their dogs, it can often end up in our waterways, where the extra nutrients can cause problems such as toxic algal blooms. Of course, a responsible dog owner will put the poo in a bag and put it in the bin, but this solution ends up in creating more plastic waste going to landfill, and the poo breaking down to harmful greenhouse gases such as methane. But there is definitely a better solution available to pet lovers in the form of the Tumbleweed Pet Poo Worm Farm that employs composting worms to digest the pet poo directly into the soil where it has been installed.
Composting pet poo with earthworms, and directly in the soil not only eliminates any pathogenic microbes, but also allows us to recycle the nutrients and organic carbon from the poo by adding it back into soil where it turns into a free, rich organic fertilizer that makes our plants grow better. The way it works is that the base of the unit is buried approximately 30cm into the ground and has holes that allow the worms to move in and out of the worm farm, not only distributing the fertilizer, but also cultivating your soil at the same time. Any microbial pathogens present in the poo get eaten by the worms and are killed as they pass through the worm's gut and are digested by our wriggly compost helpers. A hole is dug to install the unit such that the underground part is left empty to create space for the worms, and the pet poo that you feed into it on a regular basis. A further bonus is that you can also empty your kitchen scraps and other household organics in as well if you need a simple and easy way of composting those.
The Pet Poo Worm Farm also has a foot operated pedal that opens and closes the lid, which not only keeps it safe for any curious children with prying hands, but also keeps out rodents and other pests that might be attracted, especially if you are putting in kitchen scraps. It is a good idea to also have a tool called the Compost Mate, essentially a ‘compost corkscrew’ that allows you to thoroughly mix whatever is in the unit to speed up the rate of breakdown and bury any freshly added droppings.
It is best to install the Pet Poo Worm Farm in an ornamental plant bed or lawn. Keep it away from the vegetable garden to be extra safe, to ensure that no human pathogens can enter your edible garden, especially if you are growing root crops such as potatoes or carrots for obvious reasons. Putting the unit amongst trees and/or shrubs is a great solution, as the extra growth that results from having it amongst your plants tends to quickly hide it from view as the foliage cover expands around it. Another great benefit of this solution is that it never needs emptying because the worms are constantly going out into the surrounding soil and depositing their castings there. It is, however, quite OK to relocate the Pet Poo Worm Farm if you want to ‘spread the love’ by uprooting it and leaving all the residue behind and covering it with soil. A shovel full of the compost containing earthworms and eggs can be transferred to get the ball rolling in the new position to where the unit has been moved.
All in all, the Tumbleweed Pet Poo Worm Farm is a game changer when it comes to solving this environmental dilemma created by pet ownership. This clever solution lets you have your pet and compost its poo too. Happy gardening!