Balcony Wormery Makes Urban Composting Easy And Fun


PIVOT Dublin were delighted to have Pop-Up City as bloggers in residence between the 4th and 18th of April 2013.

Hey urban composters, this one is for you! During our stay here in Dublin we had the chance to chat with the guys of ABGC, a design and architecture firm that has its office in the city’s South Studios. They showed us some of recent projects, including a little wormery called WorkWorks. This urban balcony composter drew our immediate attention as it perfectly combines the recycling philosophy with a-do-it-yourself mentality plus great design on top of that.

The WorkWorks system makes use worms to turn of left-overs of fruits and vegetables into nutrient soil and ‘worm tea’. Composting is obviously not something new. Nevertheless, re-using food left-overs is something that’s mainly feasible for people living in houses with huge gardens. The composters they use are all the same and amazingly ugly. Made of dark green plastic they do their best to not stand out between the plants, but because of their size and material they mostly fail. This was one of the reasons for ABGC to come up with this design.

“We’ve been keen vermiculture enthusiasts for a number of years and have Can-o-Worms set up at our homes and in the car park behind our office — we feed the worms with our kitchen organic waste and they create highly fertile soil and liquid fertilizer. The problem is that the bins are not made locally, and are plastic and ugly so you always want to hide them and they’re not always desirable for small outdoor spaces. We wanted to design a wormery as something beautiful, a piece of furniture that could contribute to a small urban garden or apartment balcony. So we focused on the joinery details and ours is constructed of stacked dovetail jointed hardwood trays, with thin sheet stainless steel bases. The system is modular so if your trays are filling up too fast you can add more. The lower section is lined to collect the rich leachate from the upper trays and has simple brass tap to one side to drain off this worm ‘tea’ which is great organic liquid fertiliser when diluted 1:10 with water.” ABGC’s wormery is a small, neatly designed object that’s able to double as a herbs planter. This invention is great for those people with restricted space for green hobbies like gardening and composting. Its size perfectly fits the living circumstances of the urbanites, who often live in apartments with small balconies.

The wormery consists of four trays on top of each other. The lid is a miniature green roof which completes the installation and makes this part of the garden proper. If you’re planting annuals you can drop them under the lid at the end of the season whereupon the worms will turn them into soil for next years plants. The plant tray lid could be something ornamental or edible, the tray itself is 11 cm deep — a perfect plant pot. The wormery comes with a set of worms and can be used straight away. Both the compost and the ‘worm tea’ are very nutricient. And best of all, the wormery doesn’t smell. The WorkWorks wormery is now available made-to-order. Check out ABGC’s website for more information.


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