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Worm Composter

Use worms to turn kitchen scraps into compost.

Here's what you'll need:

  • Plastic box (about 2x2 feet for 2 people or 2x3 for four people, 8 to 12 inches deep
  • One pound of red worms can process about a half pound of kitchen scraps per day
  • Bedding of shredded paper or cardboard
  • Kitchen scraps (lettuce leaves, broccoli stems, coffee grounds, egg shells)
  • Soil
  • Water

To build:

  • Drill holes in the bottom of the container
  • Fill with moistened bedding.  Add peat moss or leaf mold to increase water retention.
  • Mix in a couple of handfuls of soil the worms need for grit.  Occasionally add a pulverized egg shell for calcium and grit.
  • Place red worms in bedding.
  • Bury kitchen scraps, coffee grounds and filters with the bedding in one corner of the box and cover loosely with black plastic.
  • Place the next installment of kitchen scraps next to the first.  Continue this pattern placing the raw materials in an unused portion of the bedding.
  • Moisten as needed to keep bedding moist, but not soggy.
  • Add fresh bedding every four months or when you have more worm castings than bedding.
  • Dump the compost out of the bin onto a plastic sheet.
  • Create several cones of worm castings.
  • Shine a light on the cones for 5 to 10 minutes to drive worms down into the piles.
  • Harvest the outer layer of castings and repeat until only the worms remain.

Then start the process again by reassembling a fresh new worm bin.  Use extra worms (these well-fed worms have been multiplying) for fishing or share with friends who want to start their own worm farm.

Use worm castings as a slow release organic fertilizer for your container gardens.  You will be amazed at the impact such little critters can have on your garden.

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