I believe any and everyone is capable of practicing vermicomposting (Worm Composting). Even those limited on space, living in a small apartment. Whether you’re creating soil for an entire farm or your house plants and windowsill herb garden, the benefits are endless. I’m going to teach you the basics of vermiculture and walk you through everything you need to know!
Also, for all you visual learners, check out the video about setting up the bin at the bottom of the page!
I recommend starting with three trays. You can purchase worms and my handmade bins at any Anawalt location. All bins can be used indoors or outdoors and don’t give off an odor. Perfect for apartments or those limited on outdoor space.
Each bin is made from California redwood or sequoia, which are the most moisture and insect resistant wood species grown in North America. It’s a long term relationship. . . this wood won’t decay for more than 15 years.
The Worms (Eisenia Fetida)
Known under various common names such as redworm, brandling worm, panfish worm, trout worm, tiger worm, red wiggler worm, etc., eisenia fetida is a species of earthworm adapted to decaying organic material. These worms thrive in rotting vegetation, compost, and manure.
They have groups of bristles (called setae) on each segment that move in and out to grip nearby surfaces as the worms stretch and contract their muscles to push themselves forward or backward.
When beginning a vermicomposting bin, add as many composting worms as you can to moist bedding.
The bedding of your bin will not only be the habitat for your worms, but also a food source.
The paper products used mimic dried leaves on the forest floor, thus creating a “natural” habitat for the worms.
Make sure the bedding is moist. Never too wet, think of a wrung-out sponger. The bedding needs to remain loose and not clump together, so that the worms can move about freely and facilitate the composting process.
The following items can be used to make the bedding:
- Peat Moss
- Aged Manure (meaning the manure has to be pre-composted before use)
- Dried Leaves
It’s important to note that most vermicomposters avoid using any glossy papers from newspapers and magazines, junk mail and shredded paper from offices, because they may contain toxins which will severely affect the system. Also some cardboard cannot be used if it contains wax or plastic, such as cereal boxes, and other boxes designed to hold food items.
Newspapers and phone books printed on regular, non-glossy pages are great to use because they’re heavily regulated by the FDA and use non-toxic soy and Canola based inks.
Feeding Your Worm Friends
At first, feed the worms approximately 1/2 their body weight in kitchen scraps a day, maximum. After they have established themselves, you can feed them up to their entire body weight.
They will need a combination of the green variety (nitrogen based) and brown products (carbon based). Also, worms have a gizzard similar to birds, and need grit to help break up food for digesting. So things like crushed eggshells, coffee grounds, and garden soil are important to add when feeding your worms.
- Melon & Melon Rinds
- Banana Peels
- Crushed Eggshells
- Egg Cartons
- Coffee Grounds
- Tea Leaves
- Plant Waste
- Potatoes & Potato Peel
- Fruit Pits
*When adding paper products, make sure there aren’t any plastic remnants. Such as plastic from the window of an envelope or packing tape.