May 062010

Composting is easy so long as you have the right materials and equipment necessary, but did you know that even the worms are your best friends in this process? Vermicomposting or vermiculture is essentially the process of composting with the use of worms and their castings (i.e., worm waste). An easy and fun way to compost for your garden or house plants, vermicomposting can be done both indoors or out, and requires very little space.

Red worms or red wiggler worms, which are different from earthworms, are the best worms to use for your composting process. You want to stay away from using earthworms because they weren’t made to be composting worms; red worms will take your food scraps, eat and digest them, making worm castings full of nutrients for your soil. Earthworms on the other hand, are burrowing worms; they’ll aerate the soil and take everything on the surface down with it. Therefore, they’ll be absolutely useless for what you want to do, which is compost!

In order to have a successful vermicomposting experience, always remember to feed your worms! Worms need food too, and they love food scraps, another reason why vermicomposting is so easy. Readily available, food scraps like wilted vegetables, fruit rinds, bread and coffee grounds are great sources of food for your worms. Just be sure to never, ever add scraps like meats, fats, oils, or dairy products because the worms will not be able to eat and digest these items properly. Additionally, they smell bad and attract rodents and other animals to your compost bin or heap.

Be sure to bury your food scraps in the dirt about a few inches deep underneath the dirt. This will keep the annoying fruit flies away, not to mention leaving some wiggle room for your little worms. It’s always a good idea to bury your food scraps in different areas of your worm bin so that the worms don’t get too used to convening in the same spot and so that all areas of the bin receives its fair share amount of worm castings.

After a few months you’ll notice that in place of the dirt bedding you laid out for the worms earlier, you have what we composters like to call black gold, rich fine worm castings that are ready to go into your garden. After that you’re ready to start over! A fun process that students, young children and adults will surely enjoy, vermicomposting is a terrific and acceptable way to get down and dirty with worms!

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Author: Vicki Duong
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Vicki Duong

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