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Many of us like the idea of composting but don’t have the yard space to make it happen (I’m looking at you, apartment dwellers!).
If your only experience with worms is seeing them on the end of a fishhook or dodging them on the sidewalk after a good rain, you might think all worms are the same. We know that simply layering leftover lettuce on the garden isn’t enough to get the nutrients to soak into the soil and make your flowers grow. No matter what material you choose, you’ll need to add air holes to keep the soil aerated, and bedding, usually in the form of newspaper strips, to give the soil structure and maintain moderate humidity in your bin.
Because worms eat bacteria, the real question isn’t what to feed the worms, but what to feed the bacteria! Flies: If you have fruit flies, try burying your new food waste or covering it with a good layer of bedding when you add it.
When it comes time to use your earthy black compost you’ll have two options: direct application or compost tea. If you want to keep your worms for another round of composting, you’ll need to separate them from the compost. Most, if not all, earthworms in your garden are not native to North America, since the last glacial period stripped the soil of most life: they’ve been introduced here from Europe. Care2 is the largest and most trusted information and action site for people who care to make a difference in their lives and the world. Luckily you can make your own black gold in the comfort of your own home with nature’s master composters: worms.
We need decomposition to break down the structure of the lettuce and transform the nutrients into a form that new plants can use.
Whatever you put in your bin will get decomposed eventually, but because this is for indoor use, we want to make sure it’s efficient and both odor- and pest-free. Worms thrive in a humid environment (not soaking wet) that is well aerated and warm – 60 to 77 degrees F is ideal.
Direct application is self-explanatory, but the nutrient composition will vary from batch to batch, so you might want to test it and adjust your mixture to meet your garden’s requirements. The easiest way to do this is to prepare a new bin underneath the old one with some fresh bedding and food, then place a light or two over the top of the bin. In general, non-native species are a major problem worldwide, both on land and in the oceans, as some species can become invasive, rapidly change an ecosystem, and cause negative impacts on other species and humans. Red earthworms have a better chance at surviving cold winters than red wrigglers, and thus could pose an invasive environmental threat.
This will kill worms and egg cocoons, ensuring that nothing but nutrients will be transferred to your garden.
There’s nothing wrong with having a pristine composting unit shipped to your doorstep, leaving it in the corner, and checking it occasionally. Most burrowing terrestrial worms are oligochaetes, a group with more than 10,000 known species.
The easiest way to ensure an odor-free set-up is to include only plant-based food scraps in your composter.

If your worms are dying or if there’s a foul smell, you might need to make a few adjustments to the moisture, oxygen, or temperature. Drain your composter (adding more drainage if necessary), add dry bedding, and stir up your mixture to reintroduce some air to the system.
The light will encourage the worms to migrate down through the drainage holes into your new, more enticing bin. So, while some worms have become commonplace enough to ignore, others, including hitchhikers in your vermicompost, have yet to become established. But if you want to take on the whole project, start small and see how long different foods take to decompose: orange rinds versus potato peels, for example. While their lot in life is to decompose organic matter, not all worms are suitable for indoor composting. Bacteria are mini recycling plants that multiply quickly and use enzymes to degrade organic matter particles from the outside in.
First, as matter passes through their digestive system, it gets physically broken down, which provides the bacteria more surface area to act on.
Leave the meat and dairy for the garbage bin and rinse eggshells if you want to add them to the mix. You steep your compost (and add sugar and aeration if you like) to get a nutritious liquid that’s great for regular watering via spray bottle. Fertilize some seedlings with compost tea and others without and watch for differences as they grow. Second, worm guts add more bacteria and enzymes to the mix, which helps speed up the chemical reactions required to produce compost.
You can purchase a starter kit and get going right away or, if you’re more of a do-it-yourselfer, build one yourself out of cardboard, metal, wood, or plastic.
New worms pose a major threat to hardwood forests, where they would change the soil structure and growth dynamics of the ecosystem. It’s an inexpensive way to keep your kids (and you!) stimulated and thinking about the environment. We can even visit our recycling centre and pick up the compost (quite cheaply) that they have made!Ruhee B.1 years agoI have a big compost bin.
The end products of worm digestion are castings: nutrient-rich additions to your indoor or outdoor soils. Use the wealth of resources out there, and don’t be afraid to jump right in and give vermicomposting a go. I don't mind them nor do I kill any of them - live and let live I say!Jacqueline Lavanchy1 years agoI installed my vermicompost 3 years ago, at first it was a bit of a challenge because I don't feel much at ease with worms but now, even though I still don't handle them ( I use chopsticks, delicately to remove them when they finished composting a layer), I really have a completely new approach to them.

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