By Stephanie Keeler, Community Program Coordinator
Do you want to produce nutrient-rich soils for your plants and garden, all while reducing waste and harmful chemicals? Look no further than vermicomposting! When worms are utilized in the decomposition process of food or vegetable waste, the resulting product is known as “vermicompost.”
A simple compost bin is one of the easiest and most cost-efficient ways to reduce your footprint on the environment. Food scraps and waste take up around 30% of our landfills. Though many people believe the food waste will break down, the reality isn’t so straightforward. These food scraps are often trapped in the myriad of other landfill waste and cannot aerate for proper decomposition, leaving them to release a harmful and potent greenhouse gas called methane.
Materials you’ll need
– Worms from your backyard (you can also purchase red wrigglers) – Two plastic bins – A black lid to fit over one of the bins – Newspaper, leaves, and soil – Drill
To start, find two plastic bins – these bins can be clear if you want to watch your little worms and insects at work, or black if you decide to place it outside. Dark-coloured material will help maintain heat for the compost and speed up decomposition. Ensure the bin has a tight lid to fit on top to prevent from things getting in and out of your vermin-compost. Drill ten or more holes in the lid of the bin and around the sides of just one of the bins; plenty of air is needed to properly aerate the compost.
Place the bin with the holes inside the bin without any holes; the bottom bin works to collect water or moisture. This ensures that the worms don’t drown inside your vermicompost. The collected water is referred to as “compost tea” and is basically a brew of nutrient rich water that you can splash on your gardens for extra nutrients.
Line the bottom of the holed bin with newspaper or dry leaves. Then fill it with soil to just under the halfway mark. This soil is where your worms will live. Spread some yard clippings or kitchen scraps on top of the soil and lightly mix it in.
Now comes the dirty part – you’ll need to find someone to break down your compost! Wait for a rainy day and collect as many worms from your backyard or park to fill a small container. Or, you can buy worms online or from a local greenhouse. Your worms will do the hard part by slowly breaking down your compost.
Water occasionally if the dirt seems dry, but remember that many of your compostable materials will already contain water. And just like that you have your very own vermicomposter.
A quick parting reminder to never put meat, citrus fruits, or cooked vegetables in your vermicompost bin. Good luck with your composting, and thank you for helping to make your corner of the planet a little greener!