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In journalism there is a formula for “getting the whole story”. It is to ask; WHO, WHAT, WHERE, WHEN, WHY, AND HOW. So what about Vermiculture (composting with worms).
WHO benefits from composting with worms?
The answer is simple – Everyone. Did you know that 25% of food purchased in the U.S. is thrown away? When food is dumped in a landfill, it produces methane which is a greenhouse gas 21 times more potent than carbon dioxide. Less food in the landfill = less methane in the atmosphere.
Another benefit is the worm castings (poop) left after all those food scraps are recycled. This compost is 100% organic, and perfect for growing plants. It doesn’t matter if it’s your house plants, summer garden, or large fields supplied by commercial operations, it is a great chemical free fertilizer.
Worm composting releases many microorganisms that make healthy soil which makes healthy plants which makes a healthier environment.
WHAT is worm composting?
I like to describe it as composting on steroids. Composting has been around longer than anyone can remember, at least since the Roman Empire. Composting requires the right carbon to nitrogen ratio (typically 25-30:1) to be effective. The use of worms speeds up the process of breaking down organic materials. Using worms produces a high quality fertilizer, often referred to as castings.
WHERE Inside or outside?
It’s up to you. There are many stackable bins on the market made of different materials. You can also make a homemade bin that will fit almost any budget.
A worm composting bin can be kept right in the kitchen or washroom. Outdoor bins work just as well. The options are plentiful, so use your imagination. Try more than one type or one place to see what gives the best results. Don’t forget to share your ideas and results.
WHEN can you compost with worms?
Worms are hard workers when it comes to turning your organic materials into valuable compost. They will work anytime you provide them with the right environment. If composting inside, you can recycle your scraps year-round. The only real limitation is temperature if using an outside bin. Worms will survive outside of their ideal temperature of 60-80, but care should be taken to avoid a hard freeze.
WHY compost with worms?
Composting with worms is a great way to help take care of our environment. But don’t forget about the personal benefits as well. It’s hard to find a higher quality fertilizer than worm castings, and it can be made totally from material that would otherwise end up in a landfill. It’s hard to measure the health benefits if used to grow your vegetables and fruit, but my way of thinking has always been that natural is better than chemicals any day of the week. Vermicomposting with kids can be not only a fun project, but an excellent teaching opportunity.
HOW do you compost with worms?
Bin – Your bin can be as simple as a ten gallon plastic tote, or as elaborate as a large outdoor bin. The size and location will be largely determined by what end results you’re seeking.
Bedding – Shredded newspaper is an excellent choice for bedding, but there are many options including cardboard, coconut coir, peat moss, decaying leaves and more.
Food – Worms will turn your vegetable and fruit scraps, coffee grounds, tea bags, etc. into valuable fertilizer. They will also recycle the bedding material as well.
Worms – “Red worms” or “red wigglers” are the best for composting. They reproduce quickly and can eat their own weight daily.