Vermicomposting, What is it and How do I do it?
Posted April 06, 2014
Vermicomposting, or worm composting involves a small bin of certain kinds of worms to which you add bedding and food scrapes. The worms eat the food scraps and bedding, producing a rich compost in a few months time. It is easily done indoors, and produces no odor, so it can be done by almost anyone.
The Worm Factory sized bin will consume 3-4 pounds of food waste per week. It should be kept somewhere cool, out of direct sunlight with a somewhat stable temperature, preferably 50-85 degrees Fahrenheit. Under a sink, in the basement, garage are common good locations. The Worm Factory offers air circulation with drainage for excess moisture and a spigot to collect rich worm juice.
Worms need bedding to eat and rest in, in addition to food scraps. Many waste materials work well as worm bedding, such as shredded newspaper (not the glossy section), leaves, straw, hay, cardboard, coffee chaff and our favorite coconut coir. The bedding needs to moistened until it feels like a damp sponge. You shouldn't be able to squeeze drops out, but almost. Do not use meat, oil or dairy produces. Eggshells are great and you do not need to rinse them. Use onions, garlic and citrus sparingly. The smaller the food scrapes the better and the faster your worms will devour them. Bread, pasta,coffee grounds and grains can also be used. Add a small amount of food on the top of the bedding with a layer with a moist piece of news paper covering the food. Watch to see how fast they eat the scrapes to determine how much and how often to feed your worms. Don't feed to much or you can cause heat, like a compost pile, which forces the worm to the sides and bottom of the bin and possibly killing them.
The most common, and best worms used in vermicompost are Eisenia fetida, also known as red worms (red wigglers) or manure worms. These are naturally social worms who feed at the soil surface. Common gardens earthworms will not work, as they are solitary creatures who like to delve deep in the soil, which they cannot do in a worm bin.