A Comprehensive Review Of Worm Composting (Vermicomposting)

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As an avid gardener, you know the impact that great soil and fertilizer can have on plant life. You want your plants to grow to their full potential, so that you can utilize them to the fullest. If you want to get the most of your garden, then you should consider worm composting. There is probably a good change that you have already heard some rants over the topic. All the hype is true and when it comes to composting with worms, everybody wins.

You get an easy and convenient way to dispose of your organic waste. You are greatly helping the environment by reducing the amount of trash that goes to the landfill. Oh, and the worms, they get an all-you-can-eat buffet of tasty goodness. This is not to even mention the results that you are going to notice in your plant life. Below you are going to learn even more about vermicomposting.

 

The Life Of A Worm

Worms are already born surface dwellers. Worms will be more than grateful to live in a shallow bin. If they were not living in your composter bin, they would be living it up in decaying leaves or manure piles. You would be surprised at how easy it is to take your food waste and transform it into a supply of organic plant food.

Coconut fiber or Coir will make the perfect bedding for your helminthes. Always make sure that the ingredients are cut into small chucks, prior to adding to the composter, because worms do not have teeth. The smaller the pieces, the faster they will decompose, which is exactly what you are hoping for.

 

Getting Started Vermicomposting

So, you are already excited and want to get started? First, you need a home for your worms. You can find affordable worm composter bins at any recycling plant or you can even build a bin from wood. If you are not comfortable with wood, then you can simply buy a plastic container with a lid and transform that into a worm bin. With that being said, if you do decide to go with wood, do not use treated wood because it contains arsenic, which is harmful to the environment, humans, animals, and insects.

Whatever method you decide to go with, the bin needs to be shallow, and air should be able to circulate easily throughout the bin. Add a couple of handfuls of soil to the bin, since this will inoculate (immunize with bacteria or protozoa) the soil for decomposition.

 

worm composting bin

Worm Factory 360 WF360B Worm Composter

The Worm Factory 360 WF360B Worm Composter is super simple to set up and use. Operating the composter will take less than 15 minutes a week. Included with the product is an instructional DVD that will get you ready for everything that is going to come ahead of you.

The composter basically comes with everything you need except for the worms and food waste, even the bedding material is included.

 

Worms

While there are many different types of worms, your best choice for composting will be red wrigglers. The reason for this is because they live close to the surface, reproduce fast, process a huge amount of organic material, and can handle a variety of temperatures. However, they are the happiest in temperature anywhere from 59 to 77 degrees Fahrenheit.

Larger worms are not ideal because they like to live deeper in the ground.

 

Feeding Your Worms

Now, it is time to learn how to feed your worms. The worm foods are fruits, cereals, vegetables, grains, tea bags, and cardboard. Also make sure you cut the food items into small pieces, before placing them in the bin. By cutting the food items into smaller pieces, the worms can consume the food much easier.

However, before you start adding food to the bin, you need to make sure that you have shredded newspaper covering the food at all times. This helps keep the bin most and keep fruit flies at bay. When feeding the worms you want to place the food under the newspaper scraps. Do no bury the food in the bedding, just simply place it under the newspaper.

How Much Do Worms Eat

It is very important to not over feed the worms in the beginning. It will take some time for your new buddies to get acclimated to their new environment and food. It is possible that they will even consume some of their bedding, so that will need to be replaced, as well. Once your worms become acclimated, they will start to consume more food, but before adding any new food always check to see if all the old food has been consumed first.

 

Composting During Winter

When vermicomposting during the winter months, you should avoid water, but it is okay to stir the compost every 2 weeks. While the composter is constructed out of weatherproof materials, it will be at risk of freezing and busting, if there is a water puddle in the bottom of the bin. Place it in an area, where it will receive the most sunlight, so the decomposition processĀ is not delayed.

 

Eliminating Compost Odors

If your compost begins to emit an unpleasant odor, you should add more debris that produces carbon including dry corn cobs, paper, leaves, and twigs. Avoid adding any lard or oils to your compost pile, because this will slow down the decomposition process drastically.

Meat scraps will make the heighten the odors and attract wild and stray animals. Domestic pet feces should also not be added to the composter, because this will also cause the compost to develop an unpleasant order, plus it can potentially spread parasites and bacterial diseases.

If the compost becomes too moist, it may also cause odor problems. Only water the compost weekly and if an odor develops, be sure to delay the process by several days.

 

Fruit Flies

Fruit flies will be attracted to sweet foods, so if you notice any fruit flies around your composter, you can add a thin layer of brown material to the pile. Newspapers or dry leaves will work perfectly to distract the fruit flies and it is always a great idea to put the waste in the center of brown materials.

Green Compost Ingredients

Greens will provide adequate nitrogen, which is necessary for decomposition.

  • Coffee grounds
  • Fruit/Vegetables
  • Egg shells
  • Herbivore manure (cows, horses)
  • Human/Animal hair (decomposes slowly)
  • Grains

 

Brown Compost Ingredients

Brown ingredients will provide adequate carbon to your compost. These ingredients will reduce odors, but only add small amounts at once. Never pack the pile down with browns, because this will slow down decomposition, just make sure that it remains fluffy.

  • Dry leaves/twigs/grass/straw (cut down to 2″ pieces)
  • Newspaper
  • Sawdust (no treated wood)
  • Wood ash
  • Paper board (cookie boxes, plates)

Conclusion

The placement of your composter is vital, because you want the environment to remain damp (no sodden) and between 59-77 degrees Fahrenheit. Place it in an area, where it will be away from direct rain, sun, and extremely cold weather. For this reason, you should consider sitting the composter in the garage or underneath a shelter during the winter and rainy months. Be sure to check out our worm compost bin reviews right now!