report

How to Use Worms to Make Organic Compost

How to Do Worm Farm Composting

Have you ever wondered how to do worm farm composting? It can be a very rewarding and organic way to add vital nutrients to your garden and houseplants, plus it is much easier than you might think!

I have long been an advocate of composting our leftover vegetable and fruit scraps along with chopped leaves in our big composter in our backyard. The process of decomposition is amazing to me. If you have a working composter in your yard, more than likely you will have a healthy colony of earthworms that are happily leaving behind worm castings while decomposing the contents into organic compost. The earthworm can produce its weight daily in amazing and very nutrient rich castings. These little guys live to eat, procreate, and convert your waste products into what is commonly referred to as black gold!

In this article, we will look at some things you will need to consider to get started with worm farming and I'll share some great resources as well for you to do further research.

Red-Wiggler-Worms
Red-Wiggler-Worms

Vermiculture

Vermiculture is the raising of different types of earthworms and the production of their by-products known as castings.

The red wiggler earthworm is the type of worm most commonly used in vermicomposting. You can find red wigglers in bait shops or order online from gardening supply companies, Amazon, and even eBay. I've listed links further down to help you find some online.

The earthworms you find crawling around in your yard are not the same kind of worms as composting worms. They have different tasks to accomplish than the red wiggler.

How About Some Red Wigglers To Get You Started? - Worms For Your Composter

Uncle Jim's Worm Farm 2000 Count Red Wiggler Worms
Uncle Jim's Worm Farm 2000 Count Red Wiggler Worms

If you are ready to jump right in and get started, I think this is a fantastic deal on 1000 Red Wiggler Worms! Use them for your worm bins indoors, your outdoor composter, for fishing bait, or to feed your pet fish and reptiles.

"The redworm is known as "Natures Wonder Worker," It eats its own body weight in compost daily. Just simply put a bag (1000 Count) of Uncle Jims redworms in your garden or compost pile and reap the best organic soil available without chemicals or fertlizers. Healthy soil equates to a garden of plentiful fruits and vegetables. The redworm also makes a delicious bite sized hi-protein treat for any aquarium fish or reptile. Trout and Pan fishermen see excellent results also."

 

Just How Many Worms Do You Need?

Red wiggler worms propagate very quickly. The babies reach sexual maturity in as little as four to six weeks! Technically you could start with a few dozen and in six months to a year you could have a box full of worms.

To determine just how many to invest in, you will need to consider how much kitchen and garden waste you need converted into black gold. Since you want them to consume most or all of your waste, you can start with two pounds of worms for each pound of garbage you will put in your worm box on a daily basis.

If you average about seven pounds of compostable garbage a week, then that averages to about one pound a day. You would need to start with about two pounds of worms.

Each pound of worms needs three or four cubic feet of bedding. Or, one cubic foot of worm bin can digest about one pound of kitchen waste a week without going stinky on you. There will be about 1000 mature breeders to the pound. Some stores only sell larger and more mature sizes of red worms and in that case there would only be about 600 to 700 to the pound.

Do You Think You Will Give Worm Farming A Shot?

See results
DIY Worm Farm
DIY Worm Farm

How to Make Your Own Worm Bin

You can purchase many different types of bins for your worm farm which can range from the frugal to the elaborate. Of course the size of the system will depend on how deeply you want to get into vermiculture.

Many people fall in love with the whole process and start a business selling their red wigglers to other worm farmers. I love learning how to make my own with most projects I undertake.

You can read more about how to make your own worm farm in this great article. This site is a great resource with many useful links.

Shredded Paper Bedding
Shredded Paper Bedding

Bedding for Your Worm Factory

If you simply wish to create a small worm farm in your home or office, here are some ingredients to consider using when making the bedding.

  • Shredded papers from newspapers, junk mail, office paper, etc. are all good. This is a great way to recycle and dispose of your sensitive and personal documents! I recently went through our mail and shredded old statements and such from the past years and got a huge bag of bedding for our composter.
  • Keep the print as black and white as possible as the worms do not care as much for the dyes in colored print and ads.
  • Each layer needs to be slightly moist with water and can be sprayed with a mister. Worms like things to be moist as in damp but not soaking wet, as they won't be able to breathe.
  • Your layers need to be 'fluffy' and not compact. You will need to add a few handfuls of garden soil mixed with crushed eggshells and mix this in with your layers of dry bedding.

Red Worms Composting
Red Worms Composting

Feeding Your Wiggly Workers

The best thing to keep in mind is to balance what you feed your wiggly worms.

  • They love shredded paper, vegetable scraps, fruit scraps, coffee grounds, tea bags, and eggshells.
  • Remember to put a balance of ingredients versus one or two items. Too much coffee grounds for instance will make the whole batch too acidic. You can put very small amounts of starchy foods but keep this to a minimum.
  • Make sure to never put meat, dairy products, or salty foods like chips in your bin, as these food items tend to rot and cause odors. If you are growing your worms outside, these last items also draw rodents.
  • If you will be using an outdoor composter, consider layering in chopped leaves and grass clippings. These layers add a nice healthy 'brown' balance to the vegetables and fruits and help hold down on odors.
  • Also, keep in mind that your little worm workers will eat their body weight in compost each day! If you have a thousand red wigglers or so to feed, they can go through the food quickly if you have a well balanced composting bin.

Rich Composted Soil
Rich Composted Soil | Source

Other Things to Consider

  • When worm farm composting, your little guys require oxygen so make sure the lid to your bin is either slightly ajar or you have breathing holes.
  • You will also need to turn the composting ingredients from time to time to keep things nice and aerated. If you don't want to have to turn your compost, consider using a Tumbler Composting System.
  • Thriving temperatures are between 40 and 85 degrees F so most indoor temperatures will be comfortable.
  • Red worms will reproduce often so take care that their home is big enough to accommodate them. If you find you have too many for your bin size, consider sharing with neighbors and friends. Or, you can set up another bin!

Worm Bin
Worm Bin

Uses For Your Compost

You can use your compost pretty much as you would any mulch or soil amendment. Here are a few suggestions to help you think of some uses for your black gold.

  • Soil Amendment - Mix in some of your compost a few inches down around your established plants with your potting soil. This will help any plant growing to thrive.
  • Mulch - Layer your compost around your plants in a nice even layer to help hold in moisture as well as allow the nutrients to slowly seep down to the roots of the plant for nourishment.
  • Use on House Plants - I like mixing in a big scoop of my compost when I take out my houseplants to repot them. They love it!
  • Use on Garden, Herb, or Flower Plants in the Yard - Once my plants start to burst forth, I like to put some compost around them as a mulch and/or soil amendment.
  • Spread on Your Lawn - You can use a spreader or shovel to add a nice rich layer of compost. Usually one to three inches will suffice. Take a rake and spread around more evenly if needed. Water and watch your lawn be very grateful.
  • Make Compost Tea - Put a shovel full of compost in a five-gallon bucket and fill with water. Let it steep for a few days and then you can pour the whole 'tea' onto and around your plants. You may also use burlap, cotton, cheesecloth or any other fabric to put the compost in to keep it separate from the liquid.

Worm Farm Composting
Worm Farm Composting | Source

What are your thoughts about worm composting?

Do You Think You Will Be Worm Farm Composting Soon? 54 comments

MintySea 5 years ago

good lens


flicker lm profile image

flicker lm 4 years ago

Thanks for the useful info.


anonymous 4 years ago

I've always been interested in worm farm composting, thank you for all the great information!


Brandi Bush profile image

Brandi Bush 4 years ago from Maryland

I've heard of worm composting, but never gave it a try. Maybe this year! I'm always looking for fun new projects I can do with the kids...they would love this! ;)


TheArtLibrarian profile image

TheArtLibrarian 4 years ago

Another great lens on the topic of gardening!


PaulWinter profile image

PaulWinter 4 years ago

Thanks for the information about worm farming. It looks like a great way of dealing with organic waste.


lizmilton 4 years ago

Great article - very informative. Growing houseplants in compost the worms have made gives wonderful results!


anonymous 4 years ago

It's worth looking into!


Einar A profile image

Einar A 4 years ago

Great information on how--and why--to get started with worm farming!


Diana Wenzel profile image

Diana Wenzel 4 years ago from Colorado

I definitely need to consider all composting options. This article was very helpful. Thanks for teaching me about worm composting. I always appreciate the high quality of the information you share.


amazonnottadog profile image

amazonnottadog 4 years ago

I have added worms for years, but your article says I should be putting considerably more in. I usually just bury the kitchen scraps in the garden and let the worms find it. I have no idea how many worms are in there now. Thanks for the article.


JoshK47 4 years ago

Great information here!


lclchors profile image

lclchors 4 years ago

maybe


falling lakes profile image

falling lakes 4 years ago

I`m so sad about not having my own garden! But I do think a lot about it! Maybe one day...


Natalie W Schorr profile image

Natalie W Schorr 4 years ago

Fantastic advice and ideas!


peggygallyot profile image

peggygallyot 4 years ago

Very useful tips as I have started a small compost bin in my small yard


KReneeC profile image

KReneeC 4 years ago

I just started my compost pile and will be getting some worms to go along with it!


anonymous 4 years ago

We plan on starting soon. Your article will be a good start for us.


anonymous 4 years ago

Great info


ForestBear LM profile image

ForestBear LM 4 years ago

Great information, think I would give it a go.


anonymous 4 years ago

Wow. Very thorough. Thanks for sharing this information.


zigpop lm profile image

zigpop lm 4 years ago

Just got started with our new bin. I hope all goes well with it. Thanks for sharing this great lens!


createpink profile image

createpink 4 years ago

I think everyone should do it! just preventing food waste from being in the landfill is a great reason!


Thankfultw profile image

Thankfultw 4 years ago

This takes me back to the 80's and one of the antique shops not far from ours. They sold worm tea. It was very rich and good for the plants. They also gave lessons on building worm farms. Thanks for the reminder. Great lens, packed with info.


chezchazz profile image

chezchazz 4 years ago from New York

Very thorough and interesting lens. Blessed and featured on "Still Wing-ing it on Squidoo"


John Dyhouse profile image

John Dyhouse 4 years ago from UK

A mine of information, I did not know about the worms when I started composting but they sure found my composter very quickly.


Deborah Swain profile image

Deborah Swain 4 years ago from Rome, Italy

an exhaustively research lens - so much information - you've done a fantastic job here!


WriterJanis2 profile image

WriterJanis2 4 years ago

Hadn't thought of this. Great idea.


Rosaquid profile image

Rosaquid 4 years ago

Not soon, but it's on my list now for sure!


anonymous 4 years ago

I have thought about it for several years now, I don't know if I ever will farm worms. I know they are very beneficial for the soil. And, this is an informative lens. :)


BLemley profile image

BLemley 4 years ago from Raleigh, NC

Very thorough! Thanks for all the terrific info and I fully appreciate my naturally grown worms and what they do for me! I will feature your lens on my Walk in a Fall Garden ~ I like the natural aspects of gardening that you present! SquidAngel blessed! B : )


srsddn lm profile image

srsddn lm 4 years ago

It may not be practicable at the moment as I am out of my hometown for a couple of years. But when I reach back home it wll be a considered actively.


GardenIdeasHub LM profile image

GardenIdeasHub LM 4 years ago

I was very interested in worm farm composting and will be back to read more. Thanks for the tips!


anonymous 4 years ago

I hope so.


ggpalms lm profile image

ggpalms lm 4 years ago

I use several worm Factory 360 bins. Love them and my worms are great just like this awesome lens!!!


Snakesmum profile image

Snakesmum 4 years ago from Victoria, Australia

We have an old washing machine outer shell, which we use as a compost bin come worm farm. It works really well. Nice lens.


Aunt-Mollie 3 years ago

I've always used worms in gardening. I remember one time I ordered through the mail and the worms had started eating through the packaging when my order was delivered! God created worms to make topsoil!


Gypzeerose profile image

Gypzeerose 3 years ago

Another absolutely useful lens, as I hope to become a Master Gardener someday. Blessed.


Fox Music profile image

Fox Music 3 years ago

Thank you for this enjoyable lens, "Worm Farm Composting, How To Make Organic Compost"


justramblin profile image

justramblin 3 years ago

Oh I love this idea. I adore gardening. Right now it's wintertime and your story has gotten me so excited about this coming spring. This is something I can do right now to get ready. Well done. thanks


rattie lm profile image

rattie lm 3 years ago

Terrific lens. I love my worm farm.


Snakesmum profile image

Snakesmum 3 years ago from Victoria, Australia

Haven't actually got a worm farm, but discovered the worms have found my compost bin, and have moved in en masse! Nice lens


ItayaLightbourne profile image

ItayaLightbourne 3 years ago from Topeka, KS Author

@Snakesmum: Thanks Snakesmum! It's a worm's favorite home I think, living in the compost bin. :)


anonymous 3 years ago

I'm in the process now. I've had an influx of white worms, which I later found out were from the excess coffee grinds (they love acidic soil). I'm down to about 15 worms in 2 separate containers and possibly 2 red worms out of the whole batch. It's so exciting to observe all of this taking place!


Judith Nazarewicz profile image

Judith Nazarewicz 3 years ago from Victoria, British Columbia, Canada

I love gardening and your worm farm composting article is loaded with helpful information. I just bought a new house at the lake and I can't wait to try this. I big on composting but I've never tried worm farm composting. So I'm sure I will be back to visit this page many times. :-)


CrazyHomemaker profile image

CrazyHomemaker 3 years ago

This is a really informative lens! This just took the mystique out of worm farming for me. I especially liked the 'how to' video. That helped me a lot. I think I'll be starting one soon. I have some stuff that the chickens don't get that I could feed to the worms.


Cynthia Haltom profile image

Cynthia Haltom 3 years ago from Diamondhead

Sound like something everyone should do to recycle. It is very useful material for gardening.


newbizmau profile image

newbizmau 3 years ago from Mobile, AL

We use a compost for good soil for our Seven Sisters roses. Thanks for creating this great lens to show people how.


sierradawn lm profile image

sierradawn lm 3 years ago

Worm Farm Composting is the ONLY way to go! Been doing it since a kid. I even did many science projects in school about it. Loved visiting here! I felt right at home!


ecogranny profile image

ecogranny 2 years ago from San Francisco

Unlikely, as I noted in the first comment field above, though I'd certainly like to. i once worked for a fellow who kept a worm farm in his office. Everyone brought their leftovers and coffee grounds to him. It was great fun to see the work the worms could do. Btw, kids LOVE worm farms. They really get into it, and it is a good project for classrooms doing any kind of ecological studies.


anonymous 2 years ago

nice lens!


ItayaLightbourne profile image

ItayaLightbourne 2 years ago from Topeka, KS Author

@anonymous: Thank you! Hope it was helpful to you. :)


burntchestnut 2 years ago

It's a great way to use kitchen scraps. I won't be doing composting for a while, but I will some day.


TapIn2U profile image

TapIn2U 2 years ago

Interesting lens! Sundae ;-)

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.


    Click to Rate This Article