A Fun Composting Method

By Cindy Dixon

Looking for a way to increase your garden’s health and fertility? Try worms! Vermicomposting (Worm composting) is a method for recycling food waste into a rich, dark, earth-smelling soil amendment in the form of worm castings (aka worm poop). These creatures work round the clock producing a rich, healthy soil from food scraps. This method of composting is not only fun for the entire family, it doesn’t take much time or space to get it started. Vermicomposting can be done year round without taking up a lot of space; an ideal way for apartment dwellers to compost, too.

Why use worms for composting?
There are many benefits and advantages to vermicomposting. It’s really a low maintenance and inexpensive way to turn your kitchen scraps into a beautiful nutrient rich soil amendment. As long as you feed them scraps of fruits (not too much citrus) and vegetables and keep them moist, they are happy. Other worm ‘treats’ include, coffee grounds, tea bags, eggshells, and cardboard, to name a few. Over time, you’ll find your worms will have food preferences. My worms are especially fond of avocado and coffee grounds, and they will also tolerate a small amount of onions I occasionally throw into the bin. Just keep the meats, dairy products, oils and pet waste away from the worms.

Worm castings are high in water-soluble plant nutrients, making it one of the richest in natural fertilizers. In fact, worm castings are 5 times richer in nitrogen, 7 times richer in phosphates and 11 times richer in potash than your average topsoil. Worm castings are considered the best organic fertilizer for your plants; even better than regular compost. Just think of the money you’ll save by not having to buy fertilizers and soil amendments! Studies have shown that heavy metals present in the vermicomposted materials are unavailable to plants. In addition worms reduce the pathogen levels during vermicomposting. WOW! Those worms are really looking out for the plants’ best interest!

These productive pets not only put back life in your soil, they work around the clock for mere scraps. Plus, they won’t keep your or your neighbors up at night!

Stay tuned for next week's part 2 blog for how vermicomposting works and what type of worms you need for it.

* Cindy is an Agriscaping Certified Educator (ACE) in Las Vegas, NV. Learn more here.