Vermicomposting (Composting With Worms)
What Is Vermicomposting?
Composting is a natural process whereby organic material, such as kitchen scraps and yard waste, decomposes into a dark nutrient-rich soil amendment called humus (also called compost). Vermicomposting is simply composting with worms.
Why use worms? Well, for one, because they’re cool. Not only are they slimy and neat-looking, these amazing little organisms can eat up to half their body weight in food every day. Using worms instead of a compost pile ensures faster composting and a rich, dark fertilizer. Besides — what’s more fun than getting to say, “Worms eat my garbage?”
To produce proper compost, you will want to use the kind of worms commonly known as Red Wrigglers. Red Wigglers, or Eisenia foetida, are the best compost worms. Unlike your everyday night crawlers, they live well in close, highly populated conditions and don’t burrow. In nature, you would almost never find a Red Wiggler worm heading deep underground.
Red Wiggler worms subside on items commonly placed in compost bins, such as vegetable and fruit scraps, tea bags, pulverized egg shells, and coffee grinds. After digesting their food, Red Wiggler worms excrete “castings,” a natural fertilizer that is rich in potassium, nitrogen and phosphorous.
These castings may then be used as mulch, plant potting soil supplement, or lawn conditioner.
The use of worms speeds up the process of decomposition to produce a richer end product, and also allows the process to occur indoors, making it an ideal system for apartment-dwellers. It’s true that earthworms aren’t pets for the squeamish, but they are great little composters!
If you have considered composting, but live in an apartment or condo and don’t have access to a yard, or you would rather not have to face the often chilly temps of a Canadian winter in order to go outside to visit your backyard composter – then vermicomposting is for you!
Looking For Worms? If you are looking to start vermicomposting and are in need of some Red Wiggler worms, please visit Cathy’s Crawly Composters – this organization will provide Red Wigglers at a reasonable cost and ships to Windsor/Essex County.
The Essex-Windsor Solid Waste Authority does not have any Red Wigglers at this time.