How to Save Money by Composting With Worms

How to Save Money by Composting With Worms

How to Save Money by Composting With Worms

Composting with worms, also known as vermicomposting, can help you reduce waste and save money. Here’s how to get started with worm composting at home.

Why Vermicompost?

Vermicomposting has many benefits:

  • It recycles kitchen scraps and yard waste into a nutrient-rich fertilizer and soil amendment. This reduces the amount of trash you send to landfills.

  • The worm castings (poop) created by the worms contain lots of nutrients that are great for your plants and garden. This can reduce the need to buy chemical fertilizers.

  • You can do vermicomposting year-round, even in winter. An indoor worm bin works great for apartments and small spaces.

  • It’s odor-free and easy to maintain as long as you follow some basic guidelines. Much easier than traditional composting!

  • Red wiggler worms are specially adapted to eat significant amounts of organic material and reproduce quickly.

Choosing a Worm Bin

You’ll need a bin to house your worms and compost. Here are some options:

Plastic Bins

  • Inexpensive and easy to find. Look for ones with ventilation holes.

  • Can be stored indoors or outdoors.

  • Try to find bins with tight-fitting lids to keep fruit flies out.

Wooden Bins

  • More aesthetically pleasing for indoor use.

  • Unfinished wood is best to avoid off-gassing of chemicals.

  • Drill ventilation holes if needed.

Build Your Own

  • Customize the size and features.

  • Use free materials like plastic storage containers or wooden pallets.

  • Make sure to include drainage holes.

Setting Up Your Worm Bin

Follow these steps to get your worm bin ready for composting:

Location

  • Place indoor bins in a well-ventilated area like a garage, basement, or laundry room.

  • Keep the bin out of direct sunlight which can overheat it.

Bedding

  • Use shredded newspaper, cardboard, or coconut coir.

  • Moisten the bedding so it’s 70-80% wet. It should feel like a wrung-out sponge.

Add Worms

  • Use red wigglers – they are great composters!

  • Start with 1 lb of worms (about 1000 worms) per 1 sq ft of surface area.

  • Gently place worms on top of the bedding.

Bury Food Waste

  • Bury about 1-2 inches of food waste under the bedding.

  • Good options include fruit and veggie scraps, coffee grounds and filters, tea bags.

  • Do not add meat, oils, dairy or too much citrus.

Maintaining Your Worm Bin

Keeping your worm bin healthy takes some regular maintenance:

Moisture

  • Keep bedding as moist as a wrung-out sponge by spritzing water.

  • Too little moisture will kill worms; too much can make it smelly.

Temperature

  • Ideal temp is 55-75°F.

  • Move bins away from heat vents or sunlight if needed.

Aeration

  • Fluff and stir bedding monthly.

  • Adds air pockets for worms to breathe.

Feeding

  • Bury food waste 1-2 inches below surface weekly.

  • Only add what they can eat within 1-2 weeks.

  • Alternate fruit/veggie waste with cardboard and paper.

Harvesting Castings

  • Move finished castings to one side after 3-4 months.

  • Add fresh bedding to empty side so worms migrate over.

  • Scoop out finished castings and use in gardens!

Troubleshooting Common Problems

Issue | Solution
— | —
Fruit flies | Bury food deeper; avoid overfeeding; cover food with bedding.
Odors | Too wet – add more dry bedding. Too dry – lightly moisten bedding.
Worms escaping | Reduce feeding; add more bedding; ensure bin is shaded.
Mold or mites | Improve aeration by fluffing bedding. Discard molded food.

Uses for Vermicompost

The worm castings make a fantastic organic fertilizer. Here are some ways to use it:

  • Top-dress lawns by scattering a thin layer over grass.

  • Mix into vegetable and flower gardens before planting.

  • Make compost tea by steeping castings in water and using as a spray fertilizer.

  • Use as a potting mix ingredient when re-potting plants.

By starting your own vermicomposting bin, you can reduce waste, improve your soil, and save money on fertilizers. It’s an easy, eco-friendly way to compost year-round!