What is Worm Composting?

What is Worm Composting?

Have you ever heard of vermiculture or worm composting?

Simply put, it is a way to compost your kitchen waste with the help of worms.  Vermiculture makes composting really easy by using the natural digestive processes of worms to make a great fertilizer out of organic waste. These little fellows consume your kitchen scraps and make a rich natural fertilizer. It’s a sustainable and eco-friendly way to use those scraps instead of throwing them out.worm composting

A few worm varieties make good composting partners, but not all worms are good for a setting up your own vermiculture  or worm composting system.

In fact, some types of worms can’t be used for any type of composting system.  However, a handful of worm varieties do make good organic composting partners.  They include:

* Red wigglers
* European night crawlers
* Belgian night crawlers
* Blueworms

Red wigglers or redworms are the ones most suitable for worm composting.  The red wigglers are surface feeders and don’t require a deep container or deep soil. Red wigglers are sold in some nurseries, or can be ordered online. Wouldn’t you like to receive a box of worms in your mailbox!

Blueworms are less well known in North America or Europe, although they are often used in Asia and Australia for worm farms. They have a great appetite and reproduce quickly. However, they will not tolerate temperature extremes, and in colder climates may need a heated bin.

Ordinary nightcrawlers or earthworms that you may find in your garden are beneficial for the garden, but not suitable for vermicomposting.  If you live near a live bait shop, they will have night crawlers, which are good for your garden.

Food for Worm Composting

Don’t throw all your kitchen scraps in your vermiculture farm.  Worms will eat fruit and fruit peels, vegetables and their peels, pulverized egg shells, tea and coffee grounds, non-greasy leftovers and stale bread. Never include meat scraps or greasy foods.

How to Set Up Your Worm Composting System

It is very easy to set up a worm composting system right in your home.  Your will need these common items to begin:

Worm Bin – a plastic bin or a dishpan with a cover make good containers, or you can buy a commercial worm bin such as Worm Factory DS3GT 3-Tray Worm Composter.
It doesn’t need to be deep because the worms will hang out and feed near the surface.  If you’re using a bin or dishpan, drill a few small holes in the bottom for drainage, and set it on a tray or over another shallow bin. Keep out flies and rodents with a lid.

Worm Bedding – newspaper is best because it’s easy to find and composts well. Shred it and dampen it before placing it in your bin.  You could also add some composted steer or horse manure as a filler. Add a few handfuls of garden soil, and you’re ready to add the wigglers.

Worm Food – you need one pound of food waste per day to feed two pounds of worms (you buy them by the pound). Bury the food in the bedding, rotating where you bury it each time. Never over-feed your worms. You want it composting, not decomposing.

Keep your worm bin in a room with moderate temperatures, preferably close to the kitchen for easy access.  The basement, a laundry room, garage or a covered porch or patio outside the back door are good spots. The contents of the bin should be moist, but not wet, and never too hot.

Once the original bedding is eaten, the compost is ready and you can collect it for use.This usually takes 3 to 4 months. It will look like dark, rich soil.  Move the contents of your worm bin aside, put fresh bedding and a little soil in the empty space and bury your food wastes there for a month or so. The worms will move over to the new food and bedding, and then you can remove the compost.

Are you ready to set up a worm compost bin to for recycling your organic food waste? These little critters will quite happily turn it into worm compost, one of the best fertilizers you can use. The worms will do most of the work, it is odour free, and your plants will love it.

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