A Brief Guide to Worm Composting

A few months back my son started a project in his environmental science class which involved the kids making a worm composting bin. I have to say it wasn’t something I had tried myself before but as I started reading stuff about it with William I really started to become fascinated by the subject.

Some of the interesting facts we found out while doing our research was that, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, we throw away more than a quarter of our food, about 35 million tons, every year which amounts to a massive $100 billion of waste! Not only that, the sad thing is that around 97% of it ends up in landfill sites while only a paltry 3% is used for composting and animal feed. I was pretty shocked.

So What is Worm composting?

Worm composting is essentially uses worms to recycle food scraps, turning them into nutrient-rich compost called vermicompost. Worms eat the food or other organic material and as it goes through the digestion process the nutrients in the food become compost which the worm then passes from its body – to put it politely – and that compost can then be used to grow plants.

Making Your Own Worm Bin

I ended up buying a Worm Factory 360 composter myself, but if you don’t want to buy a worm bin you can make your own quite easily. The materials you will need are a 5- to 10-gallon container which can be made from plastic or wood and which isn’t too deep, some moist newspaper strips, and, of course, worms. The type of worms you need are red worms such as Eisenia foetida (red wigglers) and Eisenia hortensis. If you search online for a worm farm you should find plenty of places that will mail them to you. If you are using a wooden container then you should first line the base of it with a plastic sheet – a plastic bag will do. The bin should also have some kind of cover. This is needed to stop light from getting in and also to ensure that the compost doesn’t dry up.

Find a sheltered spot for your bin, such as on your porch or in a garage. Fill the bin with your moist newspaper strips and sprinkle some earth on top. You will need to add about 1-2 pounds of worms for a 10-gallon container. Be a little careful as to what scraps you add to your worm bin. Fruit and vegetable scraps are good. You can also even add coffee grounds and eggs shells, but try and stay clear of meat and dairy products are these take longer to digest. After a while you will notice less of the newspaper bedding as compost is added to your bin. When it is filled with compost and little or no newspaper it will be time to harvest the compost.

One Response to A Brief Guide to Worm Composting

  1. Tammy

    As a new vermicomposter I am curious to see how my worm experiment goes. Just set up my worm bin and now am waiting for them to do their magic! Since I have started to compost, it is amazing just how much we save from the garbage by saving our kitchen scraps.

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