Another Can of Worms

I’m sure you know that worms are great for your soil. But how can you use these hungry little creatures to create some super compost for your garden? Easy! By starting a worm compost bin. It’s simple; read on to find out how.

No Place Like Home

Keep your little worm friends in small, portable bins, rather than one big one. Plastic or wood are good choices for bins, provided that you punch plenty of airholes in the sides and top (you’ll need a lid). In cool weather, they’ll need to stay indoors—they prefer warm temps, at or above room temperature.

Line the bin with nylon net to keep the small worms inside. You’ll also want to allow for drainage, so punch holes in the bottom and put a tray underneath. Next, fill the bin with about a foot of bedding, making it as wet as a wrung-out sponge. Good bedding material includes loam, black topsoil, or newspaper (black-and-white print only).

Choosing And Feeding Worms

Now, don’t go out to your friend’s farm to pick your worms; they won’t survive in your bin. Instead, choose the kind of worms used for fishing bait—red wigglers or brandling worms. Ask your fishermen neighbors for a good, local fish bait store or search for “worm farming” sites on the web.

For food, bury your leftover coffee grounds, vegetables, fruit, and dried and crushed eggshells in their bedding. Avoid potato peelings, bones, dairy products, meats, and garlic.

Harvesting Compost

It’s easy to harvest worm compost; do so every few months, when the castings outweigh the bedding that remains. Simply take the lid off and put it under bright light for 10 minutes. Since worms hate light, they’ll squirm to the bottom. Take the first layer of castings off. When you see the worms appear, expose them to the light again for another 10 minutes before taking the next layer of castings off. Now just add this black gold to your garden for super results!

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