The Basics of Vermicomposting
What is Vermicomposting?
Vermicomposting uses worms (typically red wigglers or Eisenia fetida) to convert organic waste into rich, fertile soil.
How is it different from hot composting?
Hot composting (what some people think of as outdoor compost piles and is also known as the Indole method of composting) is done outdoors and is best when you layer materials and mix regularly. Once hot compost cools, they will have worms, insects, bacteria, fungi, etc. all working to decompose waste. New hot compost piles are too hot for worms. Yes, vermicompost piles can be outdoors also, but what makes them special is the ability of vermicomposting to be working for you indoors when the weather gets cold and outdoor piles freeze.
• Compost indoors. Indoor composting is the best way to do continue composting over winter in northern climates.
• Waste reduction. This is a great reason to use vermicomposting. Your garbage cans and sink disposal are convenient but wasteful ways to dispose of kitchen scraps. Vermicomposting helps you to reduce your contribution to the waste stream.
• Produce your own fertilizer and compost tea. Worm compost and worm tea are great soil amendments for seedlings, transplants, houseplants, and gardens. Best of all, these are FREE from your worm bin.
Who should be vermicomposting?
Anyone can and everyone should (see why vermicomposting above). Once the bin is up and running it is really easy. My school age daughter is an avid vermicomposter and loves to help.
Where should I vermicompost?
You can vermicompost anywhere that you have space. The basement, cellar, or under the sink are great spots. Yes, you can also have your worm bin outside or in the garage, but you must keep the bin from freezing in the winter and getting too hot in the summer.
You can even bring a worm bin to work to vermicompost your waste from the work week! Check out this news story: MSNBC Worms in the Workplace (this is an Adobe Acrobat PDF file).
WormMainea in the news!
A worm bin from WormMainea was featured on WCSH on April 2, 2009. Paul Tukey was a guest on the Morning Show and did a segment on vermicomposting.