Monday, January 10, 2011

I Love Worm Poop

In my garage there is...

...a pile of lumber scraps.
...a shelf full of power tools.
...a pile of boxes to donate to the thrift store.
...a big, pink hula hoop.
...a messy collection of bikes and scooters.
...a box full of worm poop.

What? Yes, I said a box full of worm poop.
A large plastic bin holds a happy worm family that lives in our garage and eats our waste. It's called vermiposting and it's a natural, easy way to dispose of food scraps and other organic waste. In return for your waste, the worms provide you with their waste, which is the perfect addition to any garden.

We always used to have a compost pile in our backyard for disposing of organic waste, but it soon became too difficult to find the time to go out and turn it often enough. I filled it up too quickly with grass clipping and soon the pile was larger than me. Enter the worm bin. The worm bin requires very little maintenance. It's small and compact. It's very efficient. I like efficiency.

I made our worm bin by drilling holes into the tops and sides of two large Rubbermaid bins and their lids. You can see an easy tutorial here. The holes allow for ventilation and the dark color of the bins keeps it dark inside so the worms are happy.
Inside the bin is a busy, thriving worm poop facility. The bottom of the bin is covered in a layer of shredded paper. I used to use newspaper for this until a friend gave me the idea of using the paper scraps from my paper shredder. I had been recycling the shredded paper without even thinking of using it for worm bedding. (Genius!)

The shredded paper is what the worms use for bedding. I place a moist piece of cardboard over the top of the paper to keep everything damp. (Not that that is a problem in Washington.) Every couple of days I bring our food waste out to the garage and bury it in a corner of the worm bin. The worms eat the food scraps very quickly and I collect the scraps in a metal compost container under the kitchen sink.
Our worm bin is bustling with activity. I started out with about 2 pounds of red worms but there are many, many more than that in our bin now. They can devour all of the food scraps for a family of eight in just a day or two. It is amazing! As the bin fills up with worm castings (aka poop) I can use their waste to fertilize our plants. I wish we had a garden, but we don't have the space. (I want to try square foot gardening on our deck though.)

A worm bin is an excellent project to do with children. It's green-you can't get much more environmentally friendly than using organic food waste to create organic waste fertilizer! Learning about vermiposting affords great teaching opportunities for homeschooling families too. (Field trip to a worm farm, anyone?) Worms bins are easy to maintain and they are very clean. There is no odor from our bin and zero mess. The entire process is fascinating for kids and costs nearly nothing.

Do you compost or vermipost? I'd love to hear about it!

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