Wednesday, April 30, 2008


Vermiculture or vermicompost. Worm composting, that is. We began our adventures in turning food scraps into rich compost for the garden today with the arrival of 2lbs of redworms. I have been wanting to do this for a long, long time, so this was pretty exciting for me. The girls came to watch them go into their new home, and cooed over how cute they were, but other than that, they are not too jazzed to have a box of worms in the basement. I guess the thought of all that organic waste avoiding the landfill and the free fertilizer and soil builder for our garden does not float their boat like it does mine! For those interested in the details, read on!

That's the box I concocted from a crate left from the move and some scrap wood that was in the basement. I got a book from the library, Worms Eat My Garbage by Mary Appelhof to work out the details of size and proper bedding and how many and what kind of worms to get to eat the garbage we make each week. I think I shall have to buy myself a copy as it was very informative. Once I had the basics worked out, I placed an order online for the worms. I got them here as they seemed to have a good price. There are a ton of places online you could get worms, just look around.

When the worms got here today, a day earlier than I expected, I rushed to tear up some newsprint paper and wet it down for their bedding. Along with a few scoops of soil from the garden, and the latest contents of the compost bucket, we settled them into their new home. I set up a light to shine on them to keep them from escaping the box. After a few hours, I checked them and had to rescue a bunch that had crawled out. Here is a little guy heading for the door:

I'm told they will settle down and stay in the box in a day or so. I can't wait to see how this all works out. I'm looking forward to the first batch of vermicompost, in a couple months. Maybe by that time, the girls will be as fond of the idea of worms eating our garbage as I am!


P@ said...

The worms crawl in, the worms crawl out...

This is pretty cool stuff, Miranda, and something that I'd never really thought about before. Neat! Keep us posted on the adventures with vermiculture. :)

Sarah said...

Ok, since you've been doing this for two years are, of course, an expert, right? :)

So, I have a big black compost bin in my back yard (as well as a green cone for any food scraps that cannot be composted). Can I just put some worms in there to hurry the process along?

Miranda said...

No expert as my worms moved with us to NY and ended up in my compost pile. But my compost is a big three sided box with a dirt floor, so worms can go in and out as they please. I'm not sure I would put them in a black bin that did not open to the soil below. They would not be able to escape it if it got too hot or too dry or too wet. Maybe the cone would be good if it is open on the bottom. Also, I challenge the idea that there is food that cannot be composted. Yes, certain things will take longer, attract wildlife, or get smelly without adequate carbon, but it all composts!