February 2, 2009
Yes, Virginia, Worms Eat My Garbage!
Okay, this is a warning to all of you are are easily grossed out by worms. CLOSE YOUR EYES AND DON'T LOOK HERE. If you really want to see something that is pretty cool take a peek. I'd like to introduce you to the worlds most helpful pet-eisenia fetida aka the common redworm.
Now you may be asking why I have worms in my house eating my garbage. Well, unlike you lucky people who don't have 2 feet of snow to walk through to get to your compost pile, my indoor Worm Factory allows me to compost year round. I can just walk into the basement with my kitchen scraps and put them in the worm bin. It's a great method for reducing your garbage bill and recycling waste into a great fertilizer for plants. Besides as a pet they virtually take care of themselves and make no demands for walks or petting.
Setting up your own worm bin is simple. I really went the easy route and just ordered a three tiered Worm Factory . Then, like you would for any guest, you need to make a bed for the worms in their new home. I just use coir bricks that have been soaked in water. Invite your new employees, the redworms , to set up shop. Then it's just a matter of giving them your kitchen scraps and covering it with either shredded paper or my favorite, fallen brown leaves from the yard. Covering the scraps helps to keep uninvited guest like fruit flies away. By the way your worms are vegetarian so the kitchen scraps should only be non-meat items like fruit peelings, old veggies from cleaning out the fridge, coffee grounds and so on. There should be no smell from your worm compost bin and if there is you're probably over feeding the worms so cut back on their dinner.
I recommend that you initially use only two tiers on the bin. Then you can put a third bin on later and the worms will climb out of the older bins into the new one. They will have left behind all of the composted scraps plus their poop and this is an excellent soil amendment for your indoor and outdoor plants. You can also put a container under the spout on the Worm Factory and collect the liquid waste or "worm tea" that also can be used as a fertilizer for your plants.
For more complete information on vermicomposting check out Worms Eat My Garbage by Mary Appelhof.