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Vermicomposting

Turn kitchen scraps into useful fertilizer or soil amendment. Its simple, and a fun activity for the whole family.

All you need is shredded paper, kitchen scraps from plants, a handful or two of topsoil or peat moss, and a container with drainage holes.

Fill the container with shredded paper, moisten, and then you're ready to start composting. Add some kitchen scraps; bury them into the shredded paper. Add a little peat moss or soil to help the worms digest. And some worms. You will need one pound of worms for every half pound of kitchen scraps you want to process each day.

Continue to add kitchen scraps to your composter in pockets spread the bin. The worms will move over to the kitchen scraps and help convert them to compost. In a few months you will have plenty of compost, more worms to put back in the bin, add to the outdoor compost, share with friends, or use for fishing.

A bit more information: Purchase red worms from your local bait store. They're a real bargain as you get about 500 worms per pound. Then buy a worm composter (available online or through a variety of garden catalogues) or make your own from one of the many plastic bins on the market. Use one or two 8 to 10 gallon bins to handle your family's kitchen scraps. Place the container lid under the composter. Set the bin on inverted plastic cups or blocks in the lid. The lid will capture any compost tea that drips out of your bin. Use this to fertilize your indoor or outdoor plants.

Harvesting the worms and compost can be as fun as making the worm farm. Empty the finished compost onto a work surface. Have one family member hold a flashlight over the pile. The worms will crawl to the bottom to escape the spot light. Slowly scrape away the compost as the worms continue to move down through the compost. You will end up with a pile of compost for the garden and more worms to start the process again and extras to share with others.

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