Worm composting is a method of recycling food waste and organic materials into worm compost with the use of worms. This worm compost is called vermicompost. Worms feed off of scraps of food and leftovers, which turns into compost as it passes through the worm’s body. This compost can then be used as soil or fertilizer for growing your plants. The reason the vermicompost is so good for plants is because the worms have been eating vegetable and fruit scraps that are rich in nutrients. This is then turned into compost very high in nutrients.
Starting your own worm bin is relatively easy. Many people choose to build their own worm bin for worm composting. The main three ingredients you’ll need are the worms, a box and moist strips of newspaper. In order for your worm bin and worm composting to be successful, you have to provide the worms with what they need, which is air, darkness, moisture, food, and warm temperature. Make sure the temperature is warm, but not hot. The purpose of the newspaper or also leaves is to provide them with moisture and the necessary air spaces. The most common worms for worm composting are red wigglers and red worms. If you order them on your own, the scientific names are Lumbricus rubellus and Eisenia foetida. Otherwise, you may choose to get them from a worm farm.
Worms have been working hard making compost for years, only doing it on their own. Starting a worm bin of your own is just completing the cycle and stimulating the worm to do what it normally does anyways. The only difference is that you’ll be feeding them specific foods that they need and are better for worm composting. Although they’ll eat any type of organic matter, there are certain foods that are better for the worms being used in a worm bin for worm composting.
The most recommended foods for the worms are raw fruit and vegetable scraps. There are myths that people believe stating that any kind of leftover scraps are good, but this is not true. Try to avoid giving them oily or buttery cooked foods as they may attract pests. Foods like dairy products, oils or meats should also be avoided as they also can attract pests and will take longer to break down. Also avoid citrus fruits because of their acidity and ability to attract fruit flies. Onions and broccoli have a strong odor and should be avoided. Use a wide variety of foods if possible, with vegetables being the best. The more vegetable matter you use, the better your worm bin will be.
A nice size worm bin for starting is 24″X18″X8″ and should be more shallow than deep. The red wigglers enjoy living on the top few inches of the soil. You can choose a glass, wooden or plastic container. Wooden bins should be lined with plastic and covered with a lid, that fits loosely and has holes to allow in air. The more time that goes by, the less lining you’ll have in your bin and the more compost you’ll have as these little worms will work tirelessly eating their bedding. Harvesting (removing) your compost from the bin can take place in about 5 months. You can remove the compost and store it until it’s ready to use or use it immediately and start a new compost bin with the worms you’ve left behind.