Starting out vermicomposting can be very exciting, but also daunting if you’re new to it. Here are the most important things to know to get started composting with earthworms.
– Finished compost is awesome for garden and house plants.
– Reduce household waste.
– Red wigglers reproduce easily and are awesome pets.
– Bins are easy to maintain (about 10 min/week).
– They are a great way to compost in small spaces (apartments)
– Worms will add a lot to outdoor composters and gardens.
– Composting is a great way to involve kids in caring for our earth.
– It’s fun!
What is NOT normal for worm composting:
– Pooling liquid
– Worms crawling up the side trying to get out of the bin
The solution to most of these problems is more bedding and/or less food added until your worms catch up.
What You Need
– Composters for vermicompost are commercially available (and great) but can be easily made of commonly available or re-purposed materials.
– Worms need a dark space with airflow.
– Rubbermaid style bins with air holes are often used.
– Drainage is helpful.
Ask me for help choosing or setting up your worm bin.
– Add newsprint or corrugated cardboard as a carbon source and to control moisture.
– Avoid glossy printing and bleached paper and carboard.
– Remove tape and labels.
– Shredding bedding helps your worms to break down bedding fastest.
I’m able to get your set up with shredded cardboard.
Start your worm bin
– Add a generous amount of bedding.
– Moisten bedding with water in a spray bottle or by soaking it then squeezing or draining excess liquid
– Add some food waste to be composted
– Add some worms (note this is last… have a plan for what your initial setup will be before buying worms)
Feed your worms
– Be cautious about adding too much waste.
– Worms need to be kept in a moist bin (they die if they dry out, too).
– Add equal parts bedding and waste.
– Add small amounts of food at a time and only feed more when you see that your worms have made it through what you’ve added.
Ideally, when you grab a handful of your bedding and squeeze it, you should get a few drops of liquid run out. If you get more or less, make some changes.
What To Feed
Feed your worms:
– Fruit and vegetable peels and waste
– Coffee ground and tea bags (with the staple removed)
– Eggshells with no egg on them crushed or ground (helps with worm digestion and balances pH)
– Bedding as described above
Avoid feeding your worms:
– Meat and bones
– Dairy products
– Pasta, bread
– Add minimal citrus fruit and peels at a time
– Things with cooking oil in/on them
– Pet waste and litter
– Avoid seeds from fruit and vegetables if you’re worried about sprouting.
How-to for a few basic DIY worm bins:
A great overview of worm farming basics:
How I Can Help!
Thank you for your interest in vermicomposting.
I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.
Amanda ~ Worm Wrangler
154 Victoria St. S. Kitchener, ON, CAN