Jan 29, 2019
While it may sound like a radical practice used by only the
most dedicated greenies, vermicomposting, or composting with worms, is a quick
and easy way to help the environment. The process uses worms to break down food
scraps while creating a fertilizer for your garden.
It uses less space
than traditional composting. Not everyone has space to set up a compost bin
in their backyard, but anyone can compost indoors with worms! A worm bin can
easily be tucked away under a sink, in a basement, or virtually any space. Just
like other types of composting, if done correctly, it won’t smell.
It’s cheap. You
can reuse a plastic tub and purchase inexpensive worms to get started.
The worms do most of the work!
Worms make cool pets.
Worms are quiet, low-maintenance pets that don’t need to be walked, groomed
or boarded when you go out of town 😊. Kids love them, and they’re a great
To start your career as a worm composter, you’ll need:
1. A Worm
Bin. Worms don’t like the light, so an opaque bin is preferred. A plastic
tote with a lid works great. Drill air holes in the top and drainage holes in
the bottom. You’ll want to put something underneath your bin to catch any
liquid that drains out.
2. Worms. Red
Wiggler worms are well-suited for vermicomposting. You may be able to get them
from a bait shop, but you can also order them online. Your worms will multiply,
so you don’t need to start with a lot!
Have your bin ready before your worms arrive.
Torn strips of newspaper moistened with water are all you need to make a happy
home for your worms.
4. Food. Many of the same materials you’d put in an outside compost bin are
good food for worms. This includes banana peels, apple cores, coffee grounds
and other veggie scraps. Worms do not take well to citrus or eggshells. Oils,
grease and meats should never go in your bin. Tip: Keep a container of food scraps in your freezer to avoid fruit flies.
The added moisture from thawing also makes it easier for worms to eat.
and Using Fertilizer
Worms can eat up to half their body weight each day, but
make sure not to feed them too much! If they’re not able to eat what you give
them, uneaten food will rot and smell bad. Start slow; place food in one area
of the bin then cover with newspaper and check back in a few days. You’ll soon get
a sense of how fast your worms will eat through your scraps.
After some time, you’ll find your worms are creating lots of
great castings (a.k.a. worm poop) that can be harvested and used as fertilizer
in a garden. There are several ways to do this; you can encourage them to move
to one side of the bin by moving food scraps and having them slowly but surely
move to the opposite side, or you can simply dump the bin out onto a tarp, and
separate worms from castings.
All-natural vermicompost helps plants grow fast and strong. Castings
can be added directly to the soil in your garden or houseplants. Castings can
also be diluted to create a “compost tea” (for plants, not people!) that can be
used to water plants or sprayed directly onto leaves.
Let us know how your venture into vermicomposting goes! Share
your story with us on social media (Facebook, Twitter
or send us an email.
Sign Up for Master Composter Training.
Rutgers Fact Sheet