Friday, August 8, 2008

The skinny on worms; worm snacks

After my last post I had a number of requests for more information on worm composting. Worms can be used to efficiently decompose kitchen scraps while producing an amazing "worm juice" fertilizer and a wonderful soil amendment of worm castings. The worms and bin are easy to build and maintain, or can be purchased on the web.

There are a number of worm compost bin options, the easiest and least expensive being two plastic bins set inside one another, with drainage holes drilled in the bottom of the inside bin. I know of one Master Gardener who has an amazingly successful bin, full of happy worms, that she built this way. I have a product call the "can of worms," which is three round worm bins that can be stacked on one another, sitting on legs and with a watertight bin on the bottom to catch the worm juice. A waterproof lid fits over the whole setup.

My worms have been working hard and have fully processed many pounds of kitchen scrap into beautiful worm castings. The photos show the worm bin with castings ready to harvest, worm castings scattered around the base of my new baby kale plants, and fresh shredded newspaper bedding in the worm bin to start a new cycle. The worms used are red worms, different from the worms you find in your yard. These worms do not live below the soil, but in organic litter (such as leaves) on the surface. That makes them a perfect choice for kitchen worm bins. The only issue I have with the worms: who gets my kitchen scraps, the hens or the worms???

The few worms that I accidentally removed from the bin with the castings became a snack for the hens. They thought they were yummy. Oh, and Expresso starting crowing this morning. He was quite proud of himself, and continued to crow for almost 15 minutes!

You can find information and resources on worm composting at North Carolina State University's web site and