Composting is gaining in popularity. Gardeners are adding worm compost as a natural way to fertilize their fruits and vegetable plants and it’s making a huge difference. Setting up a vermin-composting kit doesn’t take much and is a way to ensure those vegetables are healthy and large in size. Set up the compost bin for the worms, sit back and let them do the work for you.
Table scraps, coffee grounds, tea and various items headed for your daily garbage bins can be thrown into a worm bin where it will soon be turned into a mulch or compost for use around your plants. The black compost is rich with micronutrients for flower and vegetable garden plants.
Red worms can be purchased online for about $2 per pound. The red worms used to compost are not earthworms that you find outside in your yard. The earthworm will eat decaying plants and the red worms work in a different way that is beneficial to the earth. Red worms are a bit smaller than earthworms or night crawlers. They feast on tidbits of food such as rotting leaves or fruit that has fallen from trees.
When placed inside a compost bin, the castings of these crawly creatures make the amazing fertilizer your garden will love. Eating through the garbage, they leave a black mulch which is your garden’s gold. The worms can eat through items like coffee filters and some paper products which are made of thinner paper. Never place a citrus fruit inside a worm compost bin. The acid is not good for your compost worms.
To set up a compost bin, you will need:
· Plastic containers or bins that are made of colored plastic and that are not clear. Make sure your bins have lids that fit tightly.
· Use a power drill and poke holes in the bottom for drainage. Poke holes throughout the top of the lid for air flow.
· Throw in bedding products, such as newspaper. Shred the newspaper into strips for easier ‘digestion’. Toss in some dry leaves, dryer lint, sawdust or peat moss, along with straw and regular paper torn into strips.
· Soak the materials and allow them to drain. The bedding should end up as wet as a sponge after it has been squeezed to drain some of the liquid.
· Toss in a handful of dirt. The worms like to use dirt for their digestion process. You can also use eggshells that are run through a blender and made into a powder.
· Add the red worms to the mix.
When it’s time to feed the worms again, after the food has been eaten, pull a portion of the bedding aside. Place scraps of leftover vegetables, fruit peels and pulp, tea bags, bread, crackers, coffee grounds and toss in the coffee filter as well. Do not add any meat, greasy or oily foods and do not add dairy products. The smell is overwhelmingly bad and the mixture can attract vermin and other pests. Dog and cat feces should never be added to the bin, due to the possibility of disease.
The worms will chow their way through the bedding and food that is in the bin. Each time there is more bedding added to the bin, wet it down and cover the food with a bit of the bedding. The bin should be placed on rocks or bricks to keep it off of the ground for good air circulation.
During the winter, keep the bin in an area where it will not freeze over. A shed or garage works well. During the summer, ensure the bin isn’t set out in the hot sun. The bin should never be placed in any area where it will exceed 85 degrees. Basements, garages or even outside, underneath a nice shade tree is the perfect spot for your worm friends.
The worm compost bin can also be set inside, underneath the kitchen cupboard. Place the bin on a tray to catch any moisture that may drip from the drainage holes. Compost bins do best when in the dark.
In about six months, the compost will be left at the bottom of the container. Remove the compost by feeding the worms on one side of the bin a couple of weeks before removing the worms. The worms will follow the food source and move toward the side where food exists. This will leave the opposite side open for easy compost removal.
Once the compost has been removed, fill the bin with more bedding materials. Wet down the bedding and place the food on top of the empty side. In a couple of weeks, the next side will be ready to empty. The worms will move from side to side, depending on which side the food is set. Work back and forth to remove all of the black ‘gold’ at the bottom of the bin.
Several compost bins ensure you constantly have a source of good, strong fertilizer. A tiny bit of the compost goes a long way, so you don’t need much. The mulch can also fertilize household plants and keep them healthy. Use the mulch in flower beds, vegetable gardens, seedling trays and hanging baskets to ensure your plants live a healthy life and can grow plenty of large, healthy, organic produce for you!