Composting worms has become a great way to not only help the economy but also get some great fertilizer. In fact, composting worms will give you the some of the most effective fertilizer you’ve ever used. Another term often referring to worm compost is vermicompost or worm castings. Composting worms is easy, fun and will help you have the healthiest plants you’ve ever raised. About the only items you’ll need for composting worms are worms, bedding, worm food and a bin.
You don’t need a large bin to begin composting worms, in fact, anything from 8″ to 16″ deep is sufficient. Many use a shipping crate, dish pan or old washtub. You can also buy a commercial worm bin. The important thing is to have a lid to keep out rodents and flies and also have holes in the bottom for drainage and ventilation. A good idea for an appropriate bin size is two square feet of space per person. The bin for composting worms should be in a shady space as worms like moderate temperatures. The patio, garage, laundry room or right outside the back door all makes good choices.
Newspaper torn into strips one inch wide will make excellent bedding. Moisten the newspaper so it’s like a damp sponge. You can also put in horse or cow manure to absorb any excess moisture. Add a few handfuls of soil to the moist newspaper and you can add the worms and food. Every couple of months, it’s a good idea to add crushed eggshells, soil and ground limestone for calcium and grit. This is how composting worms begin their work. As time passes, the worms will eat the food and bedding, turning it into worm compost.
Most people composting worms choose red wigglers or red worms, which can be bought at a worm farm. You can also find them in old compost pile. Red wigglers and red worms both do very well in confinement and reproduce quickly. They also have a big appetite so always make sure they have sufficient food. In fact, on a daily basis, they’ll eat more than their own weight. If you’re just starting out with your composting worms project, one pound of worms is more than enough. Worms are not picky eaters and enjoy the same things we enjoy. Some of the do’s and don’ts include: no bones, meat, fats, dairy products or greasy foods. Do compost fruit peelings, vegetable scraps, tea bags, bread, coffee grounds and filters, grains, crushed eggshells and non-greasy leftovers. Start them off with just a small amount of food, increasing as they get older.
You’ll need to harvest your worms at least two times a year and can start after you’ve been feeding them 3 to 6 months. A quick method of harvesting worms is to move all the contents to one side of the bin and put new bedding in the empty space. For the next month, put your food wastes in the new bedding. Once the worms have all moved to the new bedding, you can take out the worm compost. The compost you get from composting worms is great around plants, spread 1 to 2″ thick.