We’ve Got Worms! Vermicomposting- how to get started

Have you ever introduced yourself, ‘Hi, my name is_____ , and I’ve got worms!’  It’s one of my favorite ways to strike up a conversation.  After letting the person make a series of awkward/disgusted/shocked and finally pity faces, I inform them of my red wriggler worm farm. IMO, vermicomposting makes the greatest most nutritious soil ever!

Check out this great compost the worms are making!

Getting your own worm farm is simple. Here’s what you’ll need:

1. Vermi compost bin, you can buy your own or use 3-4, 5-gallon                                                 spackle buckets (see illustrated diagram and photo below)

This is our personal worm bin.

2. Red wriggler worms.  You can find them at all bait and tackle shops and                                 some pet feed stores or visit findworms.com.

3. Some rotting table scraps.  The more rotten, the better.  If not yet rotten,                             it won’t take long before they will be.


Home-made vermicomposter, 2-3 layers with worm tea collectorSetting up your first worm tray: Throw rotting table scraps (should be at least a week old) into the bucket, include some wet shredded newspaper.  Once everything is soggy, add the worms, red wiggler AKA red worms.  I’ve heard white worms will also work, night crawlers aren’t ideal as they are much slower to compost.

These worms will start to multiply and turn your scraps into soil.  As the contents of the first bin/layer starts to turn into a black mush, it’s time to put your 2nd bin on top of that. Start adding new scraps to that bucket.  When the Worms feel like they have had their fill in the bottom layer, they’ll move to the top layer.  You can have 3 layers working at one time.  When adding the 3rd layer, you can remove the contents from the first layer and continue to rotate the now empty bin to the top layer.

TIP: When we first started, my worms weren’t ‘chowing down’ as much as we thought they would. We kept the pile damp and we added table scraps daily.  Stuff was rotting but I wasn’t getting dirt (AKA worm castings) like we expected we would. One tiny living condition change increased production TEN-FOLD; We added layers of wet paper to the top of the pile. These worms like their privacy, so give them cover.  You can use layers of news print paper (black ink only) or give them the very best, thick brown packing paper you sometimes get with your amazon/mail orders.

In addition to excellent compost, the worm bin system creates an excellent byproduct: Worm tea. Pour it on your garden plants as liquid fertilizer!

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