Worm Composting, or Vermicomposting, uses special composting worms to recycle organic materials. The worms live in and eat things like moistened paper, cardboard, and leaves. And you feed them your food scraps, like banana peels, vegetable trimmings, apple cores, etc.
What's so special about composting worms?
Only a handful of worm species are well-suited for composting. They're a group of worms biologically programmed to stay in the top few inches of the soil and eat the layer of organic matter on top of it. They do little except eat, reproduce, and leave their castings (worm poop). The most popular species? Red Wigglers, Eisenia fetida.
1. The worm castings are great!
Worm poop, or worm castings, will add organic matter to your garden and important microbes to your soil. Worm castings even help reduce common plant pests and diseases!
2. It's a simple and inexpensive process.
As with any hobby, there's a cheap and simple way to start, and then there are upgrades. At its most basic, you need a bin, the worms, and some scraps to put inside. There's no worrying about adding "greens" vs. "browns" as with a regular compost pile. And there's one main rule: Don't overfeed the worms.
3. It doesn't require much hands-on work.
Unless you've become a large-scale worm farmer, the physical labor and involvement are minimal. Once you get things going, the effort required involves periodically adding your food scraps. Then you leave the worms to do their thing. They prefer it that way! Eventually, you can grab a scoop of their finished castings and stick it in your garden! Or you can broaden the benefits of a scoop of worm castings by making a liquid extract or tea to feed your garden.
This one, the Urban Worm Bag, is my favorite. Made for indoor use, it's ideal for a garage, basement, or laundry room. Over time, the worms adjust their population to their available food and space. So this can quickly and easily become a productive worm castings machine!
Start recycling the stuff you've got. The worm bin's bedding helps regulate moisture and pH but is also consumed by the worms. To learn more about items to use as worm bin bedding, click here.
You'll want to add a small amount of food scraps to your worm bin and increase the amount and frequency slowly. Worms breed and autoregulate their population based on their available space and food. Before you know it, you'll have a huge number of worms making castings for your garden!
Use your worm castings to boost soil health and strengthen your plants! When you no longer recognize the stuff you added as food & bedding, you can start using your worm castings. You can place them around the base of your plants to unlock nutrients in the soil. To multiply their beneficial properties, you can make a vermicompost extract or tea.
Will the worms go to the garden or stay in the worm bin? You can grab a handful of material from your bin and use it in the garden, worms and all. Or you can separate the castings, returning the worms to your bin. This video demonstrates both methods.
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