Five Steps to Vermicompost!

Vermicompost, the finished product of processing organic waste with worms, has many features that make compost appropriate for dorm rooms, apartments, and other living areas that do not have access to a backyard. Vermicompost is compact, odorless, and reduces your waste. It may seem daunting to create your very own vermicompost bin, but just follow this guide and you’ll be well on your way! You’ll be amazed at how simple the process is. Start saving those coffee grounds and apple cores, and then get ready experience vermicompost in your home, dorm room, or backyard.

Step 1: Gather Materials
In order to create a successful vermicompost bin, there are a few essentials you will need.

  • A plastic storage bin, at least 10 inches deep
  • A small drill
  • Newspaper
  • Red worms (also known as “Red Wigglers”)

Luckily, all of these supplies can easily obtained in Columbia. After purchasing a plastic bin and 30 worms, the grand total was under $7. I recommend borrowing a drill from a handy friend.

Step 2: Prepare Your Bin
Now it’s time to really get started.

With the drill, make 10 – 15 small holes on the lid and the sides of the bin. Remember to drill the holes small enough so worms can’t crawl through. The holes are necessary for air circulation.

Step 3: Make the Bedding

For the bedding, I used newspaper mainly because I had a a few old copies lying around. Rip the newspaper into long, medium width strips. These strips will act as the bedding. Do not be stingy with the amount of newspaper you rip. Worms naturally live in about 8 inches of bedding. Run water over the strips of newspaper until damp and set them in the bin.

Step 4: Add Food Scraps and Worms
This is the exciting part: adding your food scraps to your bin!

Technically, if something was once alive you can compost it. However, for the purposed of your personal worm bin, avoid composting meat, fish, dairy, and oils. Those will take longer to decompose and have the tendency to smell. Also avoid composting invasive weeds and diseased plants. Make sure to cover food scraps with wet paper bedding. Now you can introduce the worms to their new home! It is crucial to buy red worms. Other varieties (like “nightcrawlers”) will try and escape the bin. You can also add a little soil and leaves from outside to imitate the worms’ habitat.

Step 5: Caring for you bin
Maintaining a vermicompost bin is really easy as pie. Be sure to keep the bin dark and moist, just how the worms like it.  Always cover your food scraps with wet bedding to avoid odors and fruit flies. Feed your worms at least once a week. And most importantly, be proud of your worm bin! You might even feel obliged to name your new lil’ guys.

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