Saturday, May 9, 2009


My mind is currently obsessed with gardening, outdoors, earth, nature, etc. So in April, when there still wasn't much for me to do, or chances for me to go outside (still lots of snow!), I decided to make an indoor vermiculture bin. AKA a worm bin!

Basically it's a bin full of bedding and red wriggler worms (NOT everyday earth worms). I put in scraps, and they magically turn it into compost. Ok, so it's not entirely magic, but magic is a much nicer way of describing the process ;)

And of course I took this opportunity to include Ciaran, and explain to him the cycle of composting. I don't think he really cared that much, and got bored of the project pretty quickly, but I think he liked the worms!

So I started with a typical rubbermaid bin. Drilled a bunch of holes in it. I chose not to put drainage holes in the bottom and instead just keep an eye on the moisture level. While I keep my cupboard baby proofed, I don't always remember to keep the latch on and wouldn't want to find Roan playing in compost tea.


Once all the holes were drilled, we shredded a ton of newspaper, then wet it down. You want it to be as wet as a wrung out rag. When you squeeze it, it should be damp, but no moisture dripping. I found that when setting this up, it was much easier to tear the newspaper, and just dunk it in a bowl of water, then wring it out (I started by cutting the newspaper and using a spray bottle to wet it).


I also added in a bunch of peat moss (later, not shown in the pictures). This has really helped.

Then you add your worms! They must be Red Wiggler worms, not the earthworms from your backyard. They can easily be purchased online, or locally from someone who does worm composting. Or if you're lucky like me, your stepdad is an instructor at an agriculture college in the horticulture department. Their master composter has a ton of worms that she was looking for homes for, and I happily obliged!


And here is where my worms live :) It's been working fantastic. Every few days I put a handful or two of our veggie/fruit scraps. I bury them in a corner of the bin. The next time, I bury them in the next corner. And so on... Burying them helps to keep fruit flies from laying their eggs on the food. And the worms like the dark, so they happily munch away under the cover of the bedding.


And some things I've learned by trial and error. Do not feed rice or bread. They are eating it, but it has gone all moldy. I'm not feeding them for a bit until their finished that stuff. I don't want to just pull it out becaues all the worms are intermingled in the scraps and I don't want to throw them away.

Also I have added more bedding occasionally, and remember to keep it moist! All in all this is working great. The only downside is it doesn't really make a dent in our food scraps (we eat a lot of fruit and veggies). So I've also just finished making an outdoor composter, will be posting about that soon. Oh, and I have to mention, this project did not cost me a dime. We had the bin in the basement, the newspapers we recycled, my mom shared some peat moss with me, and of course, my stepdad gallantly sourced me some free worms. Which makes this project even better!!!

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