Pender Gardener

Red wriggler earthworms can turn your kitchen scraps into natural plant fertilizer in three to six m

Red wriggler earthworms can turn your kitchen scraps into natural plant fertilizer in three to six months.

Published: Tuesday, November 27, 2012 at 12:26 PM.

Feed Your Leftovers to the Worms

Looking for an interesting winter project and a way to get rid of the vegetable and fruit scraps left over from your Thanksgiving meal preparations? Want a free source of natural fertilizer for your plants? Like the idea of cohabitating with earthworms? Then vermicomposting is just what you need! Vermicomposting is a method of composting that uses worms to break down kitchen scraps into a rich, soil like material known as worm castings. Vermicomposting takes up little space and can be done indoors or out. To get started you just need to know a little about the basic supplies and procedures for keeping a worm bin.


Making the Worm Bin

Worms for vermicomposting are kept in a bin along with their bedding and food supply. Commercially made bins are available online and from some garden centers, or you can easily make an inexpensive bin from readily available materials. For most folks, a two-by-three-foot bin made from a plastic storage container is a great way to start. Choose a container that is dark in color, at least 12-inches deep, and has a tight fitting lid. Drill six half-inch holes around the upper side of the bin to allow air in and six quarter-inch holes in the bottom to allow excess moisture to escape.

Next fill the bin half full with bedding material. This is what the worms will live in instead of soil. You can use shredded newspaper, paper (non-glossy only), or cardboard, brown leaves, sawdust, or a combination of these materials. Soak bedding in water for several minutes and then wring them out before placing in the bin. Then fluff the bedding material up and add a handful of soil. Your bin is now ready to be filled with worms. 


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