Worm farming, also known as vermiculture, is a simple way of composting organics in the comfort of your own home. A sturdy bin with a lid, bedding material and worms are all that is needed to start your “farm,” which can be kept indoors or out. Hungry worms make quick work of leftover food scraps, and over weeks and months, transform them into fabulous, nutrient-dense fertilizer (a.k.a. “worm poop”) that can be used for household plants or your outdoor garden. Ready-made farms are available for purchase online, though it is no less effective and much cheaper to create one.
Not just any worm will do for a worm farm; red wigglers are best. This type of worm especially thrives when eating decaying organic material. Red wigglers can be purchased local at Black Diamond. In addition, the IWMA school education program sponsors worm beds at local schools.
For optimal results, worms are fed equal parts “greens” and “browns,” as it is called in the organic gardening world. These designations refer to the carbon to nitrogen ratio of the material, not the actual colors. Feeding guidelines are as follows:
Fruit, vegetable, bread, coffee grounds, tea bags, dead plants/leaves, egg shells, uncoated paper, napkins, coffee filters
Citrus fruits, onions, garlic, leeks or shallots, meat, fish or poultry, eggs, dairy, greasy food, salty food, prepackaged/processed food, glossy magazine paper or coated paper
More Information and Troubleshooting
- CalRecycle maintains a website with information on vermicomposting.
- Will my bin smell or attract fruit flies? How often should worms be fed? Planet Natural also provides a great worm composting write-up for beginners.
- Curl up with the Amazon best seller Worms Eat My Garbage: How to Set Up and Maintain a Worm Composting System, a great introductory guide to vermicomposting.
Worm Composting in Apartments
Living in tight quarters poses unique challenges for those who want to compost. Learn how to do it in your apartment with this step-by-step infographic from Sustainable America: