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19.12.2015 admin
Yesterday, I visited the Urban Worm in Boise, to observe their wormy ?? operation and to buy some worms.
Here are some pictures of the operation at the Urban Worm – located in the basement of the Red Feather restaurant in downtown Boise.
I began my own composting bin this past February using the helpful starting kit offered through Azure Standard. This is one of many worm bin ideas, but it is simple and works especially well in small places. 1.  Start a second fresh new bin (as described above) and allow to sit and rot for 1-2 weeks with your bedding, shredded paper, and food scraps. 6.  Continue through each pile as described until you have cleared them all, then proceed to make nine more piles and begin the process again until all the compost has been sorted through.
If you want to learn more about worm composting (or vermicomposting as it is officially called), check out Worms Eat My Garbage. I keep my bin inside the garage in the winter (it still gets somewhat cold but not extreme temp) and then transfer it to a closet in my house in the summer when the garage heats up to a very high temeperature. So when I heard about the Worm Factory 360, a worm composting system that can be used indoors or out, it seemed right up my critter-loving alley. The Worm Factory 360 bin makes vermicomposting a simple, clean, and efficient process of turning your food scraps into fertilizer for your garden.
Worm castings (a euphemism for worm poop) can be spread directly on your soil, or used to brew compost tea. My worm bin arrived in one tidy box with all the components needed to set up my system: stacking trays, sprinkler tray, worm ladder, base with spigot, shredded newspaper, pumice, coir, rake. To set up the system, start by layering a few sheets of dry newspaper in the bottom of your working tray. After a half hour of digging through our compost, flinging worms at each other and squealing with amusement (or at least, I was squealing), we had a bowl full of slithering, writhing, red wiggler worms.
I moved my bin outside and added the worms in one big pile on top of the shredded newspaper.
Then, I moistened a few sheets of newspaper and placed them on top of everything in the tray. The bin needs to be placed in a sheltered area outside, away from direct sunlight and out of the rain.
After letting the worms settle into their new surroundings for a couple days, I pulled back the sheets of newspaper and found that most of them had burrowed beneath the shredded paper layer.
I found the worms actively crawling around the food scraps, so they were already busy getting to work. After two weeks, the food was starting to decompose, making it easier for the worms to digest. Red wigglers can eat half their weight in food per day, so a thousand wigglers can eat half a pound of food every day. In the meantime, if you’ve ever been curious about vermicomposting and want to try it yourself, I highly recommend the Worm Factory 360. Start vermicomposting now, and you’ll have a full tower of trays filled with fertilizer for next spring!
If you liked this post, be sure to sign up for our mailing list andget every Garden Betty update delivered straight to your inbox! More in Jardin, MierdaPeak of Summer HarvestLast week, I came home to an overflowing garden after spending five days in the mountains. But being, a compost junkie, I just had to try out another composting method – worms! It is actually a very good deal and an easy way that kicked me into gear to start saving my food scraps and turning them into lovely new nutritious soil.
Allow old bin to continue decaying for a few more weeks before transferring to your garden or using to make composting tea (a great fertilizer!), or giving it away (you won’t lack takers!)! You may want to give a good handful of worms away to encourage someone else to start composting. A great book on the topic with helpful step by step instructions for setting up your own worm bin, answering every question you may have. She loves inspiring women around the world toward simple, natural, and intentional living for the glory of God.
We had some for a few years but recently had an infestation of small flies and gave up on the whole process.
It took me a little while to get over the gross factor and some 5 years later, I am now teaching worm composting classes to others. I have been wanting to compost for awhile but live in very small quarters and right now cannot make use of the soil unfortunately.

But I actually like that, because when I plant my tomatoes in the spring I add a handful of crushed eggshells under each plant. I store a glass quart covered jar near my sink and under my sink to collect the daily scraps. I really wanted to dump them in the bin when I got them but couldn’t do it (my husband and boys enjoyed it). You can use gloves if that helps…but it actually turned out kind of fun to get my hands dirty with them. I was always one of those kids that was fascinated with spiders, fried ants with magnifying glasses, and picked up lizards by their tails only to be left with the tails, and not the lizards.
Nature’s Footprint sent me one to try, and I’ve been intrigued with it ever since!
With a traditional compost pile, you wait for your scraps to decompose naturally through heat and bacteria.
They are rich in natural humus, nitrogen, potash, phosphorous, and calcium, all of which contribute to healthy plant growth. The initial assembly is a simple process that involves stacking up the base, worm ladder, working tray, and lid, in that order. You’ll need a cup of active compost from your existing compost pile in the garden, or a cup of decayed leaf litter from beneath the shrubs on your street. I used my paper shredder to slice up a stack of newspaper, but you can also just tear apart junk mail, cardboard, catalogs and magazines. Luckily, my regular compost bin in the yard is just teeming with worms every time I open it up, but you can find red wigglers (also known as Eisenia fetida) on Craigslist or at Find Worms. That equals roughly a pound of worms, so I recruited my guy to help me hand-pick worms out of our compost bin. I put mine right outside my kitchen door, so that kitchen scraps collected in my countertop compost pail can easily be moved to the worm bin every week.
When the first tray is full with a few inches of food (usually after a month), you can add a second tray on top and your worms will naturally migrate upward. The worm population will also double every three months, so subsequent trays will be finished at a faster rate.
The top sheets of newspaper should be re-moistened when dry, and more shredded paper can be added to the bin if it gets too wet inside. I only check on my wormy friends once or twice a week when I feed them, and it’s more for my own fascination than to perform any real maintenance.
Once compost is removed from the old bin, then you can start this bin over again with bedding and food scraps, allowing it to decay, so it is ready for the next harvest! The compost tea from the worms was amazing stuff as we put it on our Christmas Cactus and it bloomed 3 different times for us. It really doesn’t require much maintenance and mine has a nice spout that you can turn to get the worm tea out. I bought a bunch and used them for an experimental container garden this year — they were so much cheaper AND deeper than the planters in the store. In other words, can it make it through the winter or do you have uses for it during that time period?
I had read a bit on worm composting a while back, but decided against it because I can’t keep my container inside and without a garage, and freezing temps here in the winter, I thought the worms might not survive…is this true? I store mine in the garage in the winter and in a hallway closet in the summer when it gets too hot in the garage.
With vermiculture, you let your worms do all the work by digesting the scraps and pooping them out — resulting in nutrient-rich worm castings.
This is a quick way to bring microbes into your vermiculture bin and kick-start the breakdown of your scraps.
Mine included crushed eggshells, onion wrappers, herb flowers, and some odds and ends from various veggies. As opposed to other worms, such as earthworms, red wigglers make effective composting worms because they stay relatively close to the surface and are efficient eaters and reproducers.
You can even put it in a garage or basement (which is recommended in winter if you live in a northern climate, since worms can’t survive freezing environments).
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I have finally gotten around to figuring out a simple method of harvesting my bin as it was definitely overdue.
All forms of cardboard (toilet paper rolls, egg cartons, etc), newspaper, leaf mold (at the bottom of leaf piles) work. Each time I add food scraps, I will get a gentle sprinkling of water to the shredded paper to keep it damp.

I simply made the piles and then did another task around the house while I waited, thus the whole harvesting process was scattered throughout the day. After repeating the process every 20 minutes or so for a few hours, you will be left with a wiggling pile of worms. They will be good for your garden, so just focus on removing the larger worms to your new bin. This rotation between two bins will allow you to use most if not all of your food scraps effectively without any going to waste. This helps teach them the importance of good stewardship and being included in reusing and re-purposing everything in the kitchen! If you had any trouble with the small flies (not fruit flies) and had a solution I would be interested to hear your info. I’m so excited about reusing and reducing waste as well as feeding my vegetable garden good nutrients next spring. This is a beginners question, but it sounds like you keep the compost bin inside- is that right?
You can also rinse out the shells really well, crush them, and store them in a bag in the freezer until spring.
Also, I am a bit squirmish…I know, living in the wilderness, you need to be a bit more connected to nature, but tomato hornworms and beetles scare the daylights out of me sometimes…so how do you do with touching all the worms?
Also, I learned that you don’t have to buy the worms if you compost in the ground bc the worms will come.
I love to turn weekend getaways into week-long road trips and spend my days in the sun, sand or surf. My only other option was to go to the local guy who builds & sells them and pretend like I was wanting to buy one, take a really close look at it, try to reverse engineer it in my head, and attempt to copy it when I got home. I had a ton of those cardboard containers from buying fruit from the market, so I tore them all up for my new bin.
Also, keep it lifted up on top of small wood chunks over a lid or tray to make sure it has good drainage.
You don’t have to be too concerned about this as the food scraps have water in them as well which provides moisture.
Carefully remove the worms and transfer them to your new bin, and remove the remaining compost to another container.
And, similar to the question above, if we have limited space and need to store it outside, would that be okay? Bedding above 84 degrees can be harmful, but then you have to calculate that it will be cooler in the bin than in the air around it. I do this usually at the end of the day after cleaning the dinner dishes, or every other day.
You could do in your hands, or by laying the shells between 2 sheets of wax paper and rolling over them with a rolling pin. Previously we would fill up the kitchen garbage in one week, but now we can easily stretch it to every two weeks.
I have it propped up on small wood blocks over an aluminum tray to make sure it drains well, but this method looks like it would stay cleaner more effectively. It is good to have a little of the compost in your new bin as it provides grit for the worms.
With your size family, you will just have to cut back on how much you will be able to give them. I would recommend limiting their addition or making sure to grind them into a powder before adding.
I recommend filling an avacado shell with the pumpkin puree, waiting 4-5 days then lift to find it full of worms. I thought I have heard that this type of climate might be better for composting- is that true? I figured that if I did two bins at a time for now, I could always just send one of them with my sister-in-law when she moves out. Keep doing that for a few weeks and you can get most of the worms from a homemade bin that way. But I guess what I am getting at is, is two bins really enough for a the scraps from 11 people or should I have even more? Yes, you can leave the compost through the winter, but it is just as easy to transfer it to the garden pretty quick or pass it on.

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