First of all, what is vermicomposting, you ask? Vermicomposting is composting using red wiggler earth worms. These little creatures are able to produce some of the richest compost in the world just by doing what comes naturally to them: eating and processing organic waste.
The great thing about vermicomposting is that you can do it anywhere – in your yard or even just under your kitchen sink. In areas where regular compost bins are not allowed, you can still compost with a vermicomposter.
By vermicomposting, you are helping to reduce the amount of waste that goes to the landfill and creating excellent compost to feed your garden.
- Plastic tub with lid (we used extra “Science in a Box” bins)
- Small drill
- Shredded newspaper
- Red wiggler worms (Eisenia foetida) *
- Kitchen scraps
- Coffee grounds (Starbucks will give you grounds for free!)
- A boot mat
- Drill about a dozen holes along the bottom of the bin to allow for drainage.
- Drill about a dozen holes in the lid to allow for air circulation.
- Fill the bin half full of moistened shredded newspaper.
- Add a couple of cups of coffee grounds to the top of the newspaper.
- Add the worms to the bin on top of the coffee grounds.
- Place the cover on the bin.
- Place the bin in a location where it will not be disturbed, away from heat sources and on top of the boot mat (to catch drips).
- Leave the worms alone in the bin for the first week. Don’t feed them during that first week.
- After a week, add kitchen scraps to the bin, in the corners, under the newspaper. Include vegetables, coffee grounds, tea leaves, fruit, pasta, rice, potatoes, stale cake or bread, grains, egg shells. Use fruit sparingly, however. Do not add pet waste, dairy products, fatty or oily foods, meat, fish or bones, or anything non-biodegradable. Cut the food into small pieces (no more than an inch in length) – remember, a worm is going to eat it!
- At first, wait five days between feedings. You can increase the feeding time to every four days after about a month. After a few months, you can feed them daily.
- Rotate your feeding location around the four corners of the bin, adding to a different corner with each feeding.
* Vermicomposting worms are available on the internet, at bait shops and sometimes from pet stores.
After a few months you should have enough worms to start a new bin, or to share with your friends.
Vermicomposting bins are a great way to teach kids that they don’t need to be afraid of insects and bugs.
Have fun composting!