Indoor Compost Bin in less than one hour!
Vermiculture is a fancy word for worm farming. Recycling waste into fabulous fertilizer is efficient, fun, and one step closer to sustainability. Indoor composting is perfect for apartment dwellers, small space gardeners, or any compost enthusiasts who want to reduce their environmental footprint.
Worms are exothermic, meaning their environment dictates their temperature, how fast their metabolism is, and therefore how quickly they turn food scraps into fertilizer. So, while you can have worms outside, in cold winter areas they are far more efficient out of freezing temperatures.
What you’ll need:
- Two opaque containers (we use plastic but untreated wood can also be used)
- Bricks or untreated wood blocks for spacers
- Bedding (straw, shredded paper, dried leaves, or sawdust)
- Waste Scraps (no meat, no dairy, egg shells okay, avoid vinegar and oils)
- Red Wiggler Worms (ask a friend, a garden center, or look online for a local worm exchange or garden club)
Container tips: Worms are sensitive to sunlight. Use an opaque container and keep the bin out of direct sunlight, ideally between 50°-75°F. Surface area is important, chose a container that is a shallow and wide vs. a bucket, which is narrow and tall.
First, drill at least at least 10 small holes in the lid, sides and bottom of one bin (the second bin will stay intact). The holes are essential for proper air circulation and drainage; both are key to the worms’ health.
Next, place the bricks or untreated wood blocks in the bottom (intact) bin and stack the drilled bin on top. The bottom bin will catch any compost tea that filters through the top bin, which is a great liquid fertilizer for your plants.
Next, line the bottom of the bin with paper. This will absorb moisture and provide a barrier above the drainage holes.
Worms work together with microbes to create compost. Add a few cups of garden soil to the new bin on top of the paper layer to introduce other composting microorganisms, and to give the bin a kick-start.
Next, fill the bin approximately 2/3 full with shredded paper, dried leaves, saw dust or straw. This will create a bedding area in which the worms find scraps of food.
Next, moisten the bedding and organic material and bedding to about 75% moisture, which feels like a lightly wrung out sponge.
Next, gently pour the worms on top of the moistened bedding. They will find their way down on their own.
Finally, feed your worms. One pound of red wiggler worms can consume 3 1/2 pounds of waste a week! Feed your worms by burying food waste under the bedding (tip: the smaller the pieces the faster they can eat it). As the worms turn the bedding and waste into compost, push compost to one side and add food scraps and bedding to the other side. The worms will migrate to the fresh food and bedding over time allowing you to harvest the compost.
How many worms do you need? A general suggestion is 1 pound of worms per one square foot of space. Worms do multiply quickly and they will create their own perfect population size given time. Err on the side of less worms to encourage new generations.