Vermi-composting is easy, fun and a great way to turn waste into a resource. How many people put food waste in their green cart to be collected every two weeks, then in the spring go and buy compost for their garden?
Rather than throwing your money away, vermi-composting is a great way to make your own compost which will not only save you money $$$$ but reduce the amount of waste your household disposes of.
There is a lot of information out there about vermi-composting; however, the Public Outreach Department joined forces with Region 6 Solid Waste Management Educator, Kirk Symonds, to see which method of vermi-composting really worked. Our goal was to make vermi-composting as easy, simple and cost effective as possible.
If you are interested in setting up a vermii-composting bin, please just follow these simple steps. You can also contact Public Outreach at 543-2913 or Region 6 Solid Waste Management at 624-1139.
|STEP 1: Purchase a plastic tote from a local retailer, no bigger than 5 litres (under $5.00)|
|STEP 2: Fill the container 3/4 full with shredded paper. Coloured paper is fine but try not to use glossy paper. Once the container is filled with paper, add water and mix together. The paper should be wet like a rung out sponge. If water is pooling at the bottom then you have added too much, just add some more shredded paper to soak it up.|
|STEP 3: Once the paper is wet, sprinkle a teaspoon of garden lime (if you have it) over the top. This creates grit for the worms since they have no teeth. If you do not have any garden lime it's ok to leave it out. Now it's time to add the food scraps. The smaller the food, the quicker it will break down for the worms to eat.|
|STEP 4: Now we can add the red wigglers. Spread the worms over the top of the food, garden lime (if added) and paper. Red wigglers do not like light so they will try to get to the bottom right away.|
|STEP 5: Now that the worms are in their new home, cover them over with any regular potting soil you have around. Be sure the food scraps are covered completely.|
|STEP 6: Place the cover on your worm bin and put in a cool location like under your sink or in the basement. Remember to cut a hole on top of the cover for aeration. Use a sink drain to cover the hole to keep fruit files away.|
You should feed your worms 1-2 cups of food per week. To ensure you don't keeping putting the food scraps in the same location, try rotating locations by using the corner of the container, for example:
Week 1: place food in the top, right hand corner;
Week 2: place food in the top, lefthand corner, and so on.
WHAT DO I FEED MY WORMS?
|ACCEPTABLE FOOD||UNACCEPTABLE FOOD|
REMEMBER TO COVER THE FOOD OVER EVERY TIME YOU ADD IT OR YOU COULD GET A SMELL!
After a few weeks, your worm bin should look like the picture below. The bin should always be moist like a rung out sponge. If it is too wet, add shredded paper, if it isn't moist enough, add water. It's that simple!
HARVESTING YOUR WORM BIN
After 3-6 months of starting your worm bin it should be ready for it's first harvest. Take the cover off and use a light source to shine on top of the bin. As mentioned before, red wigglers do not like light and can sense it even through they do not have eyes. After an hour or so, take a spoon and began to scrape the top layer off and place it into a continaer. This is your compost and is ready to be used. Continue scrapping the layers off until you have reached the worms at the bottom of the bin.
Now it's time to start the process all over again. Fill the contianer 3/4 full of shredded paper and began the steps all over again. You do not have to stir it around, let it begin the process on its own.