What is vermi-composting?
Where can I get a worm bin?
How do I prepare the bin for the worms?
Worms thrive in a damp environment but do not like conditions where it is extremely moist or wet and puddling. This will result in odors and worms exiting the box.
Worms need bedding to keep them happy. There are many types of high carbon bedding that can work, but the most often used type is shredded newspaper, napkins, paper bags, fall leaves, or peat moss. Peat moss alone is too acidic and should be mixed with other materials listed above. The bedding should be as damp as a wrung out sponge.
Next, mix in several handfuls of soil with the bedding. The bin should be about three quarters full of bedding and soil.
Finally, add the worms to the bin and start composting.
Where can I get worms?
What do I feed the worms?
Red worms can eat over half their weight in food each day so it is important to feed them the correct items. Worms like most organic waste, but will not eat anything inorganic such as plastics. Since redworm do not have teeth and their mouths are small, cut up the food waste so it will be easier to take in. Add soil to the compost bin so the worms can use the grit in the soil to help grind the food in their gizzard.
Bury the food items completely under the bedding so they are not visible from the surface. This prevents odors and fruit flies. Do not add more food than the worms can eat in several days. It is very important to understand that worms cannot eat food unless it has already started to decompose. Fresh food waste placed in the bin cannot be readily eaten until several days have gone by. Start slow so the worms are not overwhelmed with food.
Can the worm bin be put outside?
What are the common problems and pest issues?
How and when do I harvest the finished compost?
Click on City Farmer to view a great method for harvesting worms and finished compost. Red worms create a rich compost known as castings. Finished compost can occur in as little as two or three months. In several months there will be a noticeable difference in the bin. The original bedding should no longer be recognizable and the volume of materials placed in the bin originally should be substantially less.
To harvest the compost, follow these steps. 1) Move the finished compost over to one side of the bin and place fresh bedding and food in the vacant area. In two or three weeks the worms will gradually move from the finished side to the new bedding area in search of new food. 2) The finished compost which the worms have not vacated can then be scooped out and used in the yard or garden. Also, look for the tiny lemon-shaped worm cocoons which contain baby worms! These cocoons can be placed into the new bedding so that there will be more worms to eat the food waste or place them in the garden to begin populating the garden with more earthworms to enrich the soil.
Where can I get more information?
A Worm Christmas Story