I’ve Got Worms… in my Compost! (DIY Vermicomposting)

You saw that title coming, didn’t you? Well, I’m finalllly going to be writing about Vermicomposting today.

Composting is very environmentally friendly and great for your garden. Here are a couple of reasons why:

  • It reduces the amount of trash we’re sending to the landfill while using up organic waste.
  • It helps the soil hold onto water more efficiently–poor quality soil leads to higher amounts of water runoff. 
  • It is a natural form of fertilizer for your garden, reducing the need for artificial chemicals and fertilizers. Fertilizer runoff is a huge issue for bodies of water, leading to eutrophication. Simply said, it can lead to algal blooms that deplete the oxygen levels in water, which kills off life in the water, leading to dead zones.
  • Plants need nitrogen in order to properly function. Composting provides these nutrients and microboes to help the plants grow.
  • Composting helps to prevent soil erosion, balance pH levels and promote healthy root and overall plant structure! 

There are a lot of different kinds of composting, but I wanted a type of composting that was urban-space friendly, compact, and didn’t smell/attract other bugs. Vermicomposting is faster than regular composting because you have more concentrated forces of nature decomposing and “processing” the composting material (ie: the worms). It’s super easy to do. Also, I wanted some pets for the apartment. 🙂

SO! I went to this awesome Vermicomposting workshop put on by USC’s Sustainability Office, via their Urban Garden.  If you’re around the LA area and you’d like to be a part of an awesome project, volunteer at their garden on Fridays from 9am to 1pm!

Materials needed: 

  • 2 buckets (from a hardware store) 
    • Home Depot’s 5 Gallon Bucket works for this. I originally used 2 of the 5 gallon BPA-free, food safe containers, but it didn’t fit under my sink! I went back and bought 2 of the 2 gallon buckets instead. 
  • 1 bucket lid 
  • Red Wriggler worms 
    • Most nurseries will have them, or you can buy them online. This worm in particular is great for vermicomposting. You can get a huge amount of them for about $20.
  • Something that can be used to poke holes into the plastic
    • I HIGHLY recommend using an electric drill for this. I will take only 2 minutes to poke the holes in the bucket, as opposed to 45 minutes with a hammer and nail. Trust me on this. 
  • Shredded paper (just make sure it’s not glossy paper)
  • 1/2 a cup of water

Directions:

  • Drill/Poke about 15-20 holes in the lid of your bucket
  • Drill/Poke about 15-20 holes in one of your buckets (only 1!)
  • Stack the bucket with holes in it on top of the bucket without holes. 
  • Place the shredded paper in the top bucket with the holes. 
  • Pour enough water on top of the shredded paper to make it slightly moist. 
  • Dump the worms on top of the shredded paper
  • Add scraps! (Read here for more information about what scraps to put in your bin… this part is important!)

Here are the buckets! I also made a smaller version:

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These are “Food grade, heavy duty, BPA free” which I liked. The smaller buckets aren’t.

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Here are the holes on the lid.  I’ll trust that you can imagine how holes will look in the top bucket.

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Here are the 2 gallon buckets stacked on top of each other with the lid on top.

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Here’s how it looks with scrap material in there.

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Here’s the great part. Try to not be grossed out by this entire process because the compost is seriously good for your plants and for the environment. The holes in the top bucket will allow the worm’s pee to go into the bottom container. Whenever you feel like it, take this pee and dilute it with water in your watering can and feed your plants! Your plants will grow like weeds and be more vibrant. After a couple of months, you’ll get composted material in your main bucket to add to your garden!

If you get mold at any point, add more paper scraps, and let your compost air out a little. If it starts to smell, it may mean that you’re putting too many scraps for the worms to handle- so either add worms or lessen your scraps!

Let me know if you have any questions, and let me know if you make one too! It’s such a great way to compost in a little apartment. I love feeding my new pets with my trash!

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9 thoughts on “I’ve Got Worms… in my Compost! (DIY Vermicomposting)

  1. Aria Sarraf says:

    Good Job D! Your site looks awesome!

  2. Genoa says:

    I’ve had a worm bucket going for a few months now. It’s been fun, especially because they try to escape often. I love feeding them egg cartons and toilet paper tubes. Mine did not like white paper at all. Good luck!

    • Ecospired says:

      That’s awesome! The worms aren’t able to escape out of this bucket because the walls are so high, but I would love to see them try! Have you gotten any compost yet from the past few months? Thanks for the tip!

      • Genoa says:

        My worms can climb! When I put them in total darkness, they climb up the sides of my bucket within a few hours. I haven’t harvested yet, but I have started to feed them just on one side in hopes that I can scoop castings out of the other soon. I have a lot of potted plants too so I’m sure they would appreciate the nutrients.

  3. Ecospired says:

    Okay this is hilarious- I was wondering why my little worms didn’t have the magical ability to climb, so I literally snuck up and pounced on the bucket and cracked it open and.. a climbing worm! So cool!

  4. […] I’ve Got Worms… in my Compost! (DIY Vermicomposting) […]

  5. […] I almost forgot! I harvested my worm compost. It is messy. And gross. It is definitely not for the faint-hearted or for the […]

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