Worm Power - Vermicomposting

The last few months have been hectic but I'm happy to say I've finally settled down and found an apartment with a common garden area. I'm excited to announce I've officially entered the world of vermicomposting or worm composting.

This method of composting is surprisingly easy to set up and clean. Compost reduces food scraps, which account for 30% of home garbage going to the landfill; by setting up a home compost system you help reduce methane gas from landfills and less trash means less trucks on the road. Composting is also beneficial to your garden since it acts as a natural fertilizer. Your plants will love you when you deliver. 

I couldn't believe how easy this was to set up. It's a fun activity for all members of your home and it helps everyone feel like they're making a positive impact on the planet. 

What you need:

1. Worm bin container

you can use a large plastic storage bin, barrels, self built wooden bins or any any box. I used a pit built with brick and stone. 

2. Air Flow

  • Worms need to breath. To give them air, drill eight to 12 holes about 6 centimetres apart in the bottom of the container. 
  • Place a tray under the container to catch any excess liquid
  • cover the bin with plastic or other material; your worms need a dark space and this also keeps in moisture

3. A Venue

The location of the bin should be easily accessible for you to use and shouldn't be exposed to hot sun or heavy rain. If your bin is outdoors use a solid lid to protect the worms and keep out unwanted animals. 

4. Worms

Compost worms are known as Red Wrigglers. The best way to get worms is through a friend, purchase them or collect them from the bottom of an old manure pile.

Here are 7 steps to start composting with worms: 

1. Fill your container with a bedding. This can include: dead leaves & plants, newspaper (shred), brown paper bags, cardboard, animal manures, grass, sand or soil. 

2. Moisten the bedding with water. You want the container half full with bedding. You don't want the environment too dry or too wet. You want it to be like a "wrung-out sponge"

3. Create space in the bedding by lifting it gently. We want our worms to be able to move around freely. 

4. Add worms - this is most fun part

5. Add food scraps and cover with some of the bedding

6. Continue adding scraps by burying them throughout different parts of the bin

7. Harvest your compost every two-three months. You'll know it's time to harvest when most of the original bedding has disappeared and the contents are brown and earthy. 

What can you add to your worm bin?

Kitchen scraps:  

  • vegetable & fruit peels,
  • rotting fruit
  • egg shells (rinse & crush)
  • vegetable and fruit (cut into small pieces for quicker compost time)
  • coffee grounds
  •  tea leaves

Plant Trimmings

  • flowers
  • leaves
  • end of season greenery

Bedding materials

What NOT to put into your compost

  • grease, cooked food including rice & pasta, oils
  • fish, meat & bones
  • dairy

And voilà: 

Bon Appétit little critters

Bon Appétit little critters

Recommended Reading:

Worms Eat My Garbage by Mary Appelhof
Backyard Composting by Harmonious Technologies