Monday, April 19, 2010

Wriggly worms

Strange thing number 3: I conduct worm composting in my home.

I currently rent a townhome and we don't really have a yard. We have a small patch of grass that my dog is slowly turning yellow and that's about it. During the spring/summer we utilize pots to make an attempt to grow veggies and herbs. We've had mixed success, primarily due to issues with watering and fertilizer. Fertilizer was a problem because we didn't want to use chemical fertizilers but "natural" fertilizers typically contained bone, which was a no-no due to our veg*nism. Where we live is rather dry, so watering was also a challenge, though we did a better job of it this past summer.

We're big proponents of eating lots of whole, plant foods which means that these days, most of what we were throwing out was plant waste (scraps from dinners, etc) and plastic bags. I didn't like the idea of our plant waste going to some landfill, where it will take much, much longer to compost. Landfills typically have minimal air/water circulation, which prevents items from composting naturally.

But with our small yard, what could we do? I googled a bit and found a great website ( that discussed worm composting. You can do it in your house and it is supposed to have no smell and is easy to do. I whipped up a tupperware box, saved food scraps, and bought a pound of worms, and voila! composting!

This turned out to be easier said than done. Currently, my box doesn't get enough ventilation, so there is a bit of water in the bottom of my bin which is preventing my box from getting to a brilliant, soil state. I've been airing it out the past week or so and adding more newspaper to try and soak it up. I didn't put holes in the bottom of the bin, and I'm wondering if this is going to be a major problem.

That being said, my worms are alive and happy and breeding. There's tons of worms in there of all sizes (even little white worm babies!). There's no smell, providing the paper to food ratio is correct, and it's easy to do. Hopefully I can get this water situation rectified so I can have some worm poop for my pot garden for this summer.

I'm always asked if I've named my worms. The original pound of worms contains about 500-1000 worms. It would take quite a bit of time to name them all. At this point, they've probably multiplied quite a bit, and there's way more worms in there today.

If you're looking for a way to make use of all those banana peels, apple cores, dead herbs, give a vermicomposting bin a try! It also makes a cool science project!

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