Vermicomposting, aka vermi-composting or worm composting is the practice of utilizing worms to break down waste resulting in worm castings (poop).
According to one study, when compared to conventional microbial composting, vermicomposting results in a material which has lower contamination levels (fewer toxins such as heavy metals) and is able to retain more nutrients over a longer period of time. (1.)
While most of us probably picture an earthworm when we think of worms, it is the smaller shallower dwelling worms (such as red wigglers) which are suited to the home worm bin. I ordered 2000 online, but some people are patient/determined enough to round up their own from the wild.
Before you acquire your new wiggly workers though, you should decide how you will house them. A quick internet search proves that options abound. From ready made bins in plastic and wood, to do-it-yourself designs, it really depends on what you’re going for. I chose to go the cheapest DIY option I could because, well, I would rather spend my money on plants and pots than worm housing. That said, there are some better looking options out there.
At less than $30 and in under 30 minutes, I give this little project and big thumbs up!
- 3 plastic storage bins (the 3rd one will be vented and stacked on top once the current vented one is full enough)
- Power drill
- 1/4 inch drill bit
- Plastic nursery pots (can also use PVC pipe sections, jars, or whatever to serve as risers)
- Paper and a few hand-fulls of compost (dampened for bedding)
Further reading & resources:
- Ndegwa, P.M.; Thompson, S.A.; Das, K.C. (1998). “Effects of stocking density and feeding rate on vermicomposting of biosolids” (PDF). Bioresource Technology. 71: 5–12. doi:10.1016/S0960-8524(99)00055-3.