Worm composting, also called vermicomposting, is an excellent way to turn your household food scraps into nutrient-rich fertilizer for garden and house plants. It also eliminates organic waste, such as vegetable peelings. Composting with worms benefits the environment by reducing the space used for landfill waste. Additionally, you can use it in your garden to enrich the soil with healthy nutrients.
If you want to learn about worm composting in detail, this article is for you. This guide covers all you need to know about worm composting. Let's dive into the details!
What is Worm Composting?
Worm composting refers to recycling food scraps and organic materials using worms into rich, dark, valuable soil amendment known as worm compost or vermicompost. It can be called organic garbage disposal. It's a natural and simple method to turn your vegetable and fruit peelings into beneficial nutrients for your plants.
Worms eat food waste, and as it passes through their bodies, it turns into compost. Compost leaves the worm's body through its tail end. This nutrient-rich compost is then used for plants. If you're wondering how vermicompost is beneficial to plants, remember that worms eat nutrient-rich food waste and convert it into nutrient-rich compost.
Why is Worm Composting great for your soil?
Worm composting is an efficient method to produce nutrient-rich soil and fertilize your plants. It is a type of soil amendment that helps enhance your plants' health. The worm compost improves the overall quality of soil by increasing drainage, aeration, and water retention.
Worms break down organic materials and release them as castings, which are natural fertilizers for plants. All vital nutrients like nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus that support plant growth are abundantly present in castings.
What Types of worms are used for Worm Composting?
Regular earthworms aren't used for worm composting. If they are put into an indoor worm bin, they'll die. There are two types of earthworms commonly used for vermicomposting: Eisenia foetida and Lumbricus rubellis. Common names for these worms are red wigglers, red worms, manure worms, tiger worms, and brandling worms.
DIY Worm composting Setup
Here is how to set up your own Worm Composter:
- First, buy composting worms. It's best to start with a small number of worms because their population will increase after consuming organic waste.
- Get a worm composting bin or container. DripWorks has a worm composting bin You can also make your own worm bin with a depth of between 8 to 12 inches.
- Choose the right location for your bin. Worms prefer dark, moist (not wet) surroundings and away from light and high-traffic areas. A garage, basement, patio, deck, and pantry are good options to consider.
- Fill a composting bin one-third to one-half full of moistened bedding material. The bedding material's moisture content should be similar to a well-wrung sponge. Sprinkle a cup of sand or coffee ground on top of the bin.
- Place your worms in the bin, cover it, and leave it to set in for about a week.
- After a week, start feeding the worms. Sprinkle kitchen scraps in small chunks on the bedding material surface and cover scraps with fresh bedding material. It is advised to feed worms once a week.
- Once the compost bin is up and there's no visible bedding, the bin contents consist of vermicompost, which has a dark brown and rusty appearance. Harvest your finished worm compost.
Worm Composting Mistakes to Avoid
It is easy to build a worm composting system, but it takes careful evaluation to keep compost healthy and maintain the worm population. You can make mistakes, especially in the beginning. Here are the common mistakes you should avoid when starting a worm composting setup.
Overloading Worms with Too Much Food
Enthusiastic gardeners can sometimes throw all debris into a worm bin, which overloads the composting process. It is recommended to feed them every three to four days to avoid overfeeding and be mindful of quantity. Learning how to avoid overfeeding can save you a great deal of money and frustration in the long run. The best ratio is to add a half pound of food waste scraps to one pound of worms.
Composting worms need healthy and non-acidic food scraps in small pieces. Foods like meat scraps, processed foods, greasy foods, spicy foods, sauces, pineapple, and yogurt should be avoided. Additionally, watermelon rind halves and whole cabbages take too long to decompose.
In addition to fruit and vegetable scraps, the other things that are good for worm composting include crushed eggshells, calcium, tea bags, coffee grounds, grains, bread, hair, and aged grass clippings. In addition, add shredded newspaper in moderation.
Too Dry or Too Wet Composting Bedding
Some worm bin owners drown their worms in gallons of water, while some allow the bin to dry out. If worms are overly dry, they will suffocate. If they become too wet, they can't breathe, can't tunnel. The simplest way to check the moisture levels is by taking a handful of bedding material. Then, squeeze it. If the water comes out, it is too wet.
Too Hot or Cold Conditions in Worm Bin
Composting worms prefer an ideal temperature range like humans. The bedding and worm bin help regulate the temperature. Worms slow down when the air temperature drops below 54°F. They can die below freezing.
Moreover, temperatures higher than 84°F can cook the worms. So, it is important to consider the temperature and conditions of the worm bin. A garage can be a good spot to start worm composting with one worm bin.
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Get the Best Worm Composting Bins at DripWorks
Once you get comfortable with worm composting and see its benefits, you'll love it. Enriching the soil, reducing waste, creating free nutrient-rich fertilizer, and saving the earth make vermicomposting worthwhile. However, make sure to use the right composting equipment to make the process easier. With the right composting materials, turning food scraps into valuable worm compost is simple. DripWorks supplies everything you need to start your worm composting system: Worm Factory.
At DripWorks, we carry a multi-tray design Worm Factory that makes the most effective worm bin composter. It includes three stackable trays, bedding material, lid, scrapper, and instruction manual. For product queries or any other information, feel free to reach out to us.