The ABC’s of Worm Composting, A Simple Approach

Worm composting or using worms to aid in the composting of kitchen scraps is nothing new; in fact the idea has been around for years. Whereas composting the old fashion way, meant dumping your biodegradable kitchen waste onto a pile and letting Mother Nature do her thing. The waste eventually breaks down and becomes organically and nutrient rich soil, that can then be used for fertilizer for your plants, flowers and shrubs.

Trial and Error

A fully functional efficient compost pile doesn’t just happen by itself, it’s a learning process. A few drawbacks include having to manually turn over your pile to oxygenate your compost. Depending on how much kitchen waste you put on your pile, another problem is the food scraps rot in the sun before turning into compost which can lead to a situation your neighbors don’t approve of. Bugs, fruit flies, possum and raccoons and a whole host of other critters also like food waste. Of course, once you gain some experience and the ins and outs, you can fine tune your process and alleviate some of these issues. But what if there was a simple self-contained solution that doesn’t leave a pile of garbage in your back yard that doesn’t require that much of your attention? Enter the self-contained closed worm composting bin.


Why not let worms do the heavy lifting? Worm composting or vermiculture, is a process where a self-contained closed system is created that is an ideal environment for worms. These conditions include temperature, moisture, noise, sunlight and of course the food scraps you add to it. Red wigglers are the gold standard for composting and I recommend about 1000 worms or roughly a pound to start. The idea is to build a moisture rich environment for your worms in a cool darkened space. This is accomplished by alternating layers of powdered soil and moistened shredded newspaper. Place a few kitchen scraps or lettuce in the corners. Next, carefully add your worms and sit back and let them acclimate for a few days. After the worms have settled in, add some tea bags and coffee grinds and a handful of sand. Crushed eggshells and some leaves are also good as the worms need something gritty incorporated into their diet to aid in digestion.


With the worms at the bottom of your system all happy and stress-free, you are now ready to start adding small amounts of food scraps on the top. The worms migrate up to the food scraps and drill hundreds of holes on the way to their prize thereby aerating the contents, consuming the food scraps and turning your trash into treasure. A word about food… Take your cue from the worms on how much they eat and how long it takes them. If you put in too much food at once they won’t consume it before it begins to rot and smells bad. Avoid meat for the same reason and it’s difficult for the worms to digest. Use small quantities of vegetable scraps, coffee grounds, paper, egg shells, peels and food and vegetables that are well past their sell by date.Another benefit of egg shells, is they provide calcium to the system which aid in your wigglers reproduction. Self generating sustainable worms… who knew?

The Takeaway

Take your operational cues from the worms. Let your composting partners tell you what they like and how often they like it. Monitor the input and output, the biggest mistake is over-feeding them which make the system inefficient, smelly and sluggish- much like us! With the addition of a filtered kitchen scrap bucket with biodegradable composting bags, your scraps can be stored in your kitchen along with your garbage until they are ready for the worm bin.

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