Worm Composting Bins
(aka Worm Composter, Worm Composting System and Vermicomposting Bins)
Worm composting cannot be done without worm composting bins, also called a worm composter, worm composting system or vermicomposting bins.
A simple but ingenious invention, worm composters consist of a series of mesh-bottomed trays capped with a lid and stacked on top of “catch-all” base with a spigot (see image below-right). They’re typically made of durable and sturdy black plastic.
Here’s how worm composting bins work…
- Fill the bottom tray three-quarters full with moist bedding (should not be dripping; it should have roughly the same moisture level as a regular compost pile). Coir fiber bricks are ideal and will result in the healthiest compost, but you can also use brown leaves, straw, peat moss, shredded newspaper, cardboard, sawdust or a mixture of these. Do NOT pack down the bedding, as the worms must be able to freely burrow into it.
- Throw a small amount of dirt or compost on top of the bedding.
- Scatter about one pound of redworms (a specific type of worm that reproduce quickly and produce their weight in castings each day) for every one-half pound of kitchen waste that you use each day.
- Start adding your kitchen waste until the tray is full (throw excess kitchen waste in your regular compost piles)
- When the bottom tray starts to fill up with worm castings (worm excrements made up of digested kitchen waste, bedding and dirt/compost), start the process over in the next tray up. You DO NOT need to add any more worms, as the worms from the bottom tray will find their way up through the mesh when the lower tray has been converted into castings.
- After the worms have migrated to the next tray, remove the bottom tray, empty the castings for immediate use or storage. Store unused castings in a lidded bucket with several small holes punched in the top. Before sealing the bucket, add enough water to moisten all of the castings, then place the bucket in a covered place and out of direct sunlight.
- Place the emptied tray back on top of the worm composter.
- As the bottom of the worm composter fills up with liquid, use this "worm tea" to water your plants.
The bin should be kept free from the elements and ideally in a cool, dark place such as a well-ventilated shed in the spring and fall and a basement during the winter and summer.
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