At the beginning of September I joined the rank of those “who keep worms in their house”. Most people don’t even know
I have worms there are worms in our basement. Even our international student has no idea. There hasn’t been any bad smells in the basement and the food we feed the worms disappears fast! The worms can almost keep up to our kitchen waste which is a relief because our compost is officially on hold for the winter. Hubby refuses to even try fitting just a little more in the bulging snow buried compost. I don’t blame him but it makes me sad to throw compostable material in the trash. Thankfully vermicomposting has helped reduce the amount of organic waste in our trash bin. By next winter I plan to have enough worms so no banana peels find their way to the trash.
Since I’ve started keeping worms I learned some valuable lessons that I want to share.
Lesson 1: Befriend a vermicomposter (person).
If you want to vermicompost make some vermicomposting friends. These people frequent places like farmers’ markets, gardening centers, and thrift stores. When you meet someone new and you want to know “do they vermicompost?” mumble something to yourself about composting and worms. “I have to feed my worms” does the trick. Vermicomposters will catch on fast and without prompt start divulging the inner workings of their composters and may even tell you the names of their favorite worms.
Seasoned vermicomposters are a wealth of knowledge. One of the vermicomposting ladies I met even graciously donating a piece of worm covered apple from her bin to bump up the waste consumption of my bin. How nice!
Lesson 2: Aerate the mass and observe.
Dedicate a pair of rubber gloves to your worm bin. Once a week put them on and gently aerate the mass of worms, dirt and food by lifting, shifting and folding over the mass. As you do this inspect the moisture content of the bin (is it too wet? too dry?), notice how much food the worms are eating (should they be fed more? less?) and note if there are pieces of food your worms aren’t enjoying (worms don’t like onions or fruit stickers…yes stickers).
Lesson 3: Smaller pieces of food speeds up consumption.
Throw in a banana peel and it might take a while to disappear. Chop up the banana peel and poof! it’s gone. Some people have a dedicated food processor that they purchased from a thrift store for this job. I just chop things with a knife.
Lesson 4: Worms need grit.
Worms need grit to help them digest their food. A cup of sand or soil works fine. Another great way to provide grit it to gather some eggshells and send them to the food processor to be ground into dust. Once every couple week sprinkle a couple tablespoons into the bin.
Here is a video that I put together to give you an idea of what vermicomposting looks like.