How does Worm Composting Work?:
After setting up the container, begin feeding the worms the same organic waste that you would normally compost. The worms chew on it for a while and when they’re done eating they digest it and there you have your worm compost!
Not only does worm composting increase the nutrient levels in the soil but worm castings also contain millions of microbes that help break down nutrients that are already in the soil into plant available forms. The mucous that the worms release slows the release of the nutrients and prevents them from washing away with the first watering. Worm compost can be too rich for use alone as a seed starter but it is useful as a top dressing and as an addition to potting mixes. Try using the ratio of one part worm casting to four parts mix and watch your plants grow!
Using Worm Composting Bins:
Unlike regular compost, which can work on its own in a pile, worm compost requires a little more structure. These bins can be made out of almost anything but they need drainage and air flow to be built in. The design usually depends on where you want to store your bin and how you wish to feed the worms. The are three categories of worm composting bins.
-Non-continious: undivided containers that start with a layer of bedding materials to line the bottom (shredded paper, etc). Worms are then added and organic matter is added in the layer above the bedding so the worms will start to composting the organic matter.
-Continuous vertical flow: a series of trays stacked on top of one another. The tray on the bottom is filled first like the non-continuous bins (bedding, worms, organic waste) but it is not harvested once full. Instead, a thicker layer of bedding is added on the top and the tray above is used to add organic material. Once the worms are done composting the bottom tray they go for more food and migrate to the tray above. Once the worms have migrated, the bottom tray can be collected.
-Continuous horizontal flow: Similar structure to vertical flow, but you must line up the trays horizontally. The bin is then divided in half by a screen of chicken wire. One half is used until it is full and then the other half is filled with bedding and organic matter. Then the worms migrate to the side with the food and the compost can be collected.