Savage Worms: An Adventure in Vermicomposting!

Reduce Reuse and Recycle with worm poop!
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We all know about composting and how it is a good way to reduce the volume of garbage we send to the landfill. Composting is especially fruitful if you have a yard and a garden to use the compost on. For those of us who live in the city, however, it can be hard (or impossible) to find space for a composting apparatus. Likewise, without a yard or garden, what do we do with all the finished compost?

Vermicomposting is a great way for city dwellers to compost in an unobtrusive and compact way. All you need is a small bin (about the size of a recycling bin), and some red worms. The worms will eat your scraps of food and paper (fruit, vegetables, tea, coffee grinds, egg shells, newspaper, egg cartons, paper towel rolls, etc.) and poop out fantastic nutrient-rich ‘castings’. The castings make great fertilizer for indoor (or outdoor) plants. Notice in the photo below that the plant grown with vermicompost is the biggest and strongest:

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Chinese spinach seedlings grown with (from left) chemical fertilizer, powdered horse manure, vermicompost, and nothing.

Well my ninjas, soon my apartment will be home to 1,000 eating, wriggling, pooping red worms. My dear roommate came home one day several months ago very excited to start a vermicompost after meeting a woman at a local festival who was selling ‘worm java’, a nutrient rich concoction made from the liquid by-product of the composting process. We have a jungle of almost two dozen plants in our apartment (out on the porch in the summer) that drank up the worm java like bona fide caffeine addicts. After months of anticipation my roommate finally got a birthday present of 1,000 worms. She has been busy drilling holes in a plastic bin and we have all been saving our food and paper scraps to get a home ready for the worms when they arrive. Incidentally, vermicomposting experts recommend keeping a weekly worm journal to track the progress of the compost. So, we have decided it would be fun to keep our ‘Savage Worms’ journal on green.MNP! Stay tuned for photos of our Savage Worms and updates on the vermicomposting progress!

In the meantime, check out this video from Plenty Magazine TV on TerraCycle, the “leading producer of organic plant food” to see how vermicomposting can be done on a large and very green scale:
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HuNbM0YNx9M[/youtube]
If you are interested in learning about vermicomposting for yourself, here are several websites that we have found helpful:

http://www.franklincountywastedistrict.org/vermicomposting.html
http://www.gardeners.com/Worm-Composting/default/5714.page
http://www.redwormcomposting.com/
http://www.wormwoman.com

http://journeytoforever.org/compost_worm.html

http://www.mass.gov/dep/recycle/reduce/vermi.htm http://www.ci.cambridge.ma.us/theworks/departments/recycle/indoor.html

http://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/envirom/wormfarm.htm

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5 thoughts on “Savage Worms: An Adventure in Vermicomposting!

  1. I have really had to work hard at my composting this season because it has been unusually cold here in Houston. The worms don’t seem to like it too well… I had to do a little insulation on my compost pile outside. It’s working well– the worms seem to be moving slower though. I find that nightcrawlers from the north do a little better in this weather than homegrown ones.
    -Sylvia

  2. Thinking of getting a kit for vermicomposting. I might just end up putting it on my list. Would you suggest going to the multi tray installations or just a simple box?

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