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How to: Compost Indoors with Worms

Vermicomposting, or worm composting is an incredibly easy process that every urban, suburban, or rural dweller should do.  Why?  Because if you want to grow plants – fruits, vegetables, flowers, herbs, ANY PLANT – the rich nutrients in the worm poop (aka castings) will help your plants flourish.

Red Wiggler lunch

Red Wiggler lunch

A well-maintained worm bin will not smell or require a lot of time.  Here’s what you do:

  1. Get a bin with a tight fitting lid and create holes in the top with a sharp knife (carefully, so as to not cut off your finger – which I almost did).
  2. Add Red Wiggler worms.  There are certain types of worms that are good for composting and others that aren’t.  Earthworms, for instance, aren’t great, so you can’t just go outside and dig up any worms that you find.
  3. Add fruits or vegetables.  Red wiggler worms can consume up to 2x their body weight per day.  I find that my worms don’t quite eat that much (and mine are doing well, as evidenced by the fact that they are rapidly reproducing).  I try not to add anything stinky (garlic, onion) or anything that might rot and smell (banana peels).  Definitely don’t add any meat, dairy, or anything oily/fatty.
  4. Rip newspaper into 1/2″ – 1″ long strips and put the newspaper strips on top of the worms.  The newspaper will provide “bedding” for the worms (similar to wet leaves in their natural environment) and will absorb moisture.  Moisten the paper with water so that it is wet, but not soaking wet (it should still have some absorptive capacity).  Store the bin in a dry, dark place.  Mine is kept under my kitchen sink.
  5. Check on your worm bin once or twice a week.  You don’t want to see any water pooling around the bottom or the worms will drown.  You also don’t want the bin to get dry because the worms need to be wet to breathe through their skin.  So, you need to maintain a goldilocks moisture level that only you will be able to find (there are a lot of factors).
This is my worm bin, with holes, worms, and newspaper.

This is my worm bin, with holes, worms, and newspaper

When the worms are thriving, they’ll reproduce.  If they’re not thriving, it could be due to a number of reasons that you can investigate here, at the Multi Materials Stewardship Board of Canada’s website.

Or, if you want to watch a fun video of this process with your kids – check out Leave It Better’s instructional (fun) video.

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