How to Make Worm Compost

by Stephanie Hudson

Worm Compost:

Its easy! The worms are kept in a bin with shredded paper or other biodegradable bedding. You feed them food waste. They digest the waste and bedding then excrete nutrient-rich castings. After a few months, the castings combined with the well-decomposed bedding, become something called vermicompost which is one of the richest soil improvements around. It will do wonders for plants, flowers, fruit trees and garden vegetables.

To start vermicomposting, you’ll need four things:

  • A bin (size of your choosing) the bin must be opaque (non see through) because worms dont like light
  • A supply of biodegradable bedding such as soil, recycled newspaper, cardboard, or peatmoss
  • A supply of food waste like apple cores, banana peels, or any other vegetable or fruit waste
  • Worms of course (the best kind of worms to use for your compost are called red wigglers) found in nurseries or at fishing stores

Red Wiggler Worm

Step 1: Clean the bin! use dish soap and hot water to clean the container.

Step 2: Combine soil and other bedding in your bin. (Soil can be from your yard or from a nursery).

Step 3: Add a small amount of food waste.

Step 4: Add the wigglers!

After about 2 weeks you should see the food waste decomposing!

Note: Spray the soil every few days to keep it moist so that the worms can squirm around easily.

Here are some warnings and things to avoid when making your own compost:

  • Worms don’t eat meat, dairy products, eggs, or oily foods.  Don’t feed them these things!
  • Citrus should be added lightly because they are acidic. Add only a little at a time, and with plenty of other food stuffs. Also go light on green feeds (like alfalfa, grass and fresh hay) because they heat up quickly.
  • Don’t let your bin get dry!  If there are enough holes at the bottom, your worms are not likely to drown, but they will die without water.
  • Avoid temperature extremes- keep it about 50-80 degrees Fahrenheit if possible. Avoid extreme sunlight or extreme cold.  In the winter you can move your worms into a garage or a shed if you keep them outside.
  • Keep the bin below 90 degrees, or your worms will cook and it smells bad!
  • Don’t add fresh (uncomposted) cow manure. It contains harmful pathogens and will heat the bin to deadly levels and kill your worms.

picture from Wikipedia

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