Reduce. Reuse. Recycle as a Last Resort.
Worm farming, also known as vermiculture, is a simple way of composting organics in the comfort of your own home. A sturdy bin with a lid, bedding material and worms are all that is needed to start your “farm,” which can be kept indoors or out. Hungry worms make quick work of leftover food scraps, and over weeks and months, transform them into fabulous, nutrient-dense fertilizer (a.k.a. “worm poop”) that can be used for household plants or your outdoor garden. Ready-made farms are available for purchase online, though it is a much cheaper to create one. This video features step-by-step DIY instructions:
Not just any worm will do for a worm farm; red wigglers are best. This type of worm especially thrives when eating decaying organic material. Garden centers often carry red wigglers, or they may be purchased online. For optimal results, worms are fed equal parts “greens” and “browns,” as it is called in the organic gardening world. These designations refer to the carbon to nitrogen ratio of the material, not the actual colors. Feeding guidelines are as follows:
Fruit, vegetables, bread, coffee grounds, tea bags, dead plants/leaves, egg shells, uncoated paper (office paper, newspaper, napkins, junk mail, coffee filters) and vacuum cleaner dust.
Citrus fruits, onions, garlic, leeks or shallots, meat, fish or poultry, eggs, dairy, greasy food, salty food, prepackaged/processed food and glossy magazine paper or coated paper.
Will my bin smell or attract fruit flies? How many worms will I need? These questions and more are answered by City Farmer.
Planet Natural also provides a great worm composting write-up for beginners. Curl up with the Amazon best seller Worms Eat My Garbage: How to Set Up and Maintain a Worm Composting System, a great introductory guide to vermicomposting.
Living in tight quarters poses unique challenges for those who want to compost. Learn how to do it in your apartment with this step-by-step infographic from Sustainable America: