Start a Vermicomposting System

 In Environmental Education, School Gardens, Uncategorized

Do you have a lot of food scraps at home? Is your soil lacking fertility? Maybe it’s time to stop throwing your food scraps away. Red wiggler worms are ready and willing to turn your trash into rich, nutrient-dense vermicompost that is an excellent soil amendment!

Worm composting is a fun and easy way to transform your food waste into the best organic fertilizer nature can provide. Worm compost bins can be kept indoors or outdoors and are perfect for schools or for those living in small spaces.

You can make a bin out of wood or plastic or buy one. There are loads of instructions to make your own online. You can also check out our School Gardens page on our website for a DIY Worm Bin.

To learn how to have a successful vermicomposting system, we caught up with our resident Worm Wrangler, Angie Ouellette. Angie takes care of the large scale Vermicompost Bins at all of our School garden sites.

Here are her tips on keeping your worms happy and thriving!

  • Keep them cool. Worms are just like us! They are quite content between 65 and 75 degrees.
  • Don’t overfeed. 1 lb of worms can eat 1/2 lb of organic matter each day (that includes carbon and nitrogen sources) If you don’t want your bin to get smelly, wait to feed until they’ve consumed most of their last meal.
  • Let let them breathe. Since worms breathe through their skin, proper moisture is important! Too much water or juice from fruit can create anaerobic conditions and make it hard for them to breathe. If it gets too dry worms also have a hard time breathing. If your bin seems too wet you can add dry paper scraps to soak up the extra moisture. If it seems too dry, you can add wet paper scraps. Good moisture in a bin can be tested by squeezing a handful of bedding, it should have the consistency of a wrung out sponge.
  • Trust their guts. They will tell you if something is not right. If you open up your bin and it’s very smelly and/or you see worms all over the sides and the lid, something is not right. You may need to adjust the temperature, amount you’re feeding, or moisture level. Happy worms will be deep down, minding their own business, munching away turning your trash into treasure.

Happy Vermicomposting, everyone!

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