I have been composting with red worms for over a year now. It is such a simple thing to do and takes a small amount of time and effort, unlike a compost pile. I feed the worms all of our fruit and vegetable scraps, usually once a week.I purchased the worms and a how-to book from here. I have so much rich vermicompost in my two bins that I am planning on putting on my vegetable garden in the spring. Read on to learn how to start your own worm bin!
Setting up your worm bins:
You can basically use any type of plastic bin or make your own out of wood. I choose to use a plastic bin a friend gave me . She had used worms in the past to compost until she got chickens. Now the chickens eat all of the leftover foods. Added some dirt and shredded newspapers to create a layer approximately 6 inches deep. Sprinkle with water to moisten and add your worms!
Get Your Worms:
Red Worms are apparently the best kind to use. I ordered mine online and received them in the regular mail. They were wrapped up in a box and placed in a brown paper bag. I put the entire package in the bins since it all could be composted. I ordered one pound or approximately 1000 red worms. I split my bins after 4-5 months and now have two very full bins.
I usually feed the worms every week or so. I feed them all of our fruit and vegetable scraps. I store the scraps in a canister in the fridge. I bury the scraps in a different spot each time and then cover it with shredded newspaper. I usually don't have a problem with the bins drying out, but sprinkling a small amount of water over the shredded newspaper helps. I keep my bins over an empty container that the excess water can filter into. This vermicompost tea is awesome to use in your gardens.
I store my bins outside out of direct sun until the threat of the first frost. At that point, I transfer the bins into my three season room and cover with an old comforter.
I have only harvested the vermicompost once but found it to be a relatively simple process. Simply dump the entire contains of the bin on newspaper that has been place in direct sunlight. Wait for about an hour. The worms do not like the sunlight and will go to the bottom of the pile. Scoop the top third of the vermicompost and return the remainder to your original bin. Add scraps and shredded newspaper and the worms will begin the process again. Mix the harvested vermicompost into your garden soil. You will most likely lose a few worms along the way but considering the amount you typically start with and the fact the worms begin to reproduce after 6 months, it is nothing to stress about.
I think that my worm bins are pretty cool and I am planning on using them for a Tiger Cub Activity in the near future.