Vermicompsting or worm composting is a style of making dirt that has been growing by leaps and bounds in recent years. It is similar to regular composting in many respects like you use a combination of Browns (carbon rich materials and Greens (nitrogen rich materials) contained with in a bin. The only real difference between the two is the addition of worms to the bin.
What do the worms do?
The worms do a couple things to help in the production of compost. They eat, digest and then excrete
the materials you place in the bin in the form of worm castings. Worm castings are the nutrient dense
leaving of the worms that produce a high quality compost that is easily utilized by plants. Worm
produced compost when done correctly will out do regular compost according to proponents in
texture, nutrient quality and ease of production. It also can have a fast turn around time depending of
course on what you place in the pile and how many worms you have eating the material.
How to get started?
Well as with everything in life at the beginning. Sorry about that little bit of humor there I just
couldn't resist You can start worm composting in one of two ways you can either buy a commercially
made bin or you can build one yourself. I personally am a fan of the commercial bins since they take
out a lot of the guess work in worm composting and make the whole thing a lot simpler for people
just getting started. To see what is available check out Amazon for a great selection of bin types
made to fit every size of operation. If you are feeling braver you can also build you own from a
variety of plans on the Internet. A few plans two check out are below
Once you have the worm bin built or bought you will usually have to put some type of bedding into it
that the worms will love. Most people use shredded black and white newspaper, cardboard, old
compost or even composted manure as their bedding medium. They will all work it just depends on
what you have available to you. Before you put worms into your bin you must make sure the bedding
is sufficiently moist with about as much water as as it take to lightly moisten all the material with out
it being soaking wet.
With the bin assembled the time has come to add worms to the bin. You cannot just use any worms
you dig up from the garden they must be a type that normally lives in and eats the type of materials
into which you are placing them. Most people use a type of worm commonly called red wiggler
worms but are also known by their scientific names of Eisenia foetida and Lumbricus rubellus. They
can found easily online at places like Amazon and many other sites in varying amounts . Typically
you will want 1-2 lbs of worm for every pound of food you produce daily. If you cannot get that
many worms right away don't worry they will breed and double their population about every 90 days
as long as conditions in the bin allow it.
How do I maintain the bin?
A bin being used correctly is pretty hands off for most of the process other than adding more food as
needed. You will need to become more hands on after you start to see more compost than bedding in
the bin. This signals that the time has come to separate out the worms from the compost and add
fresh bedding and food so they can start the process over again. Finally the best way to keep your
worms happy is keep them in a location that you find comfortable to spend lots of time in. Basically
some place that is not to wet, not to dry, not to hot and not to cold. If you live in northern states you
will usually will have to bring the bin inside in the winter so keep that in mind when you purchase or