Interested in the wonderful world of composting with the help of nature’s living decomposer, the worm? Let’s talk about it!
What is worm composting?
Worm composting or vermiculture is an easy, affordable, and low-maintenance way of creating compost. It definitely requires less work, just let the worms eat up all your scraps and in two months you’ll have rich compost at your disposal.
The worms used in composting are brown-nose worms or redworms. They work best in containers and on moistened bedding. Those night crawlers or large, soil-burrowing worms are not good for composting purposes. Just stick with the redworms and things will work out well. All you need to do is add food waste to the container and soon enough the worms will eat them up and convert them to compost together with the bedding.
What kind of waste goes into worm composting?
Our wriggly friends thrive off of our food scraps and will be most effective when scraps are cut into very small pieces. The lists below identify what you should and shouldn’t put in your worm bin.
The worms’ ideal diet:
|Coffee grounds/ tea bags|
|And even pasta|
Foods worms want to avoid:
Why not acidic fruits? The worms in your compost bin are not huge fans of anything super acidic. However, they are resilient creatures and can withstand a slight amount of acidity.
Who is worm composting best for?
Honestly, worm composting is great for anyone who wants a convenient composting method. If you simply want to make some personal changes in order to cut your carbon footprint this is a great start.
It’s a very scalable option, meaning it is even great for people with no access to a yard, like apartments! All you need is a little bit of space to store a clear plastic container with a lid. I’d recommend you put it under your sink.
What will you need?
- You will need some worms called “red wigglers” (other worms won’t survive)
- Plastic container with lid (dimensions: 12X12X12 will work great)
- Power drill (10 holes in the lid to allow oxygen in for decomposition)
- a fine screen to cover holes in order to keep unwanted visitors out (not necessary, but recommended)
- a trowel to move the compost
- a bedding material (like newspaper or egg cartons)
- a way to keep your compost moist (i.e. spray bottle)
- you can also buy a pre-made kit
- store bin in a location that is convenient for you and good for the worms
- most indoor locations work (again, I recommend under the sink)
- ideal temperatures for the worms are between 55°F and 80°F
Tips and upkeep
- Don’t overfeed (it may attract unwanted pests). Worms can eat about half of their body weight every day, so if you have a pound of worms, they will consume half a pound in a day
- Aerate the worms’ bedding each week
- Try and put your food scraps in a different spot than the previous time
- Bedding should not be anything glossy (they have harmful chemicals!)
- Keep your bin in a dark place (worms don’t like the light)
- Maintain moisture
- Make sure the scraps are chopped up in very small pieces (maybe even blended up)
- After a couple of months, your worm population will grow! I’d recommend you share the wealth and give some away to friends and family for them to start a worm bin.
Again, I am so happy you have taken an interest in vermicomposting! I hope this helped and if you want to take an even deeper dive into the other types of composting, make sure to check out my other posts!
By Luke Moran-Pedersen