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Ever Considered Composting With Worms?

Ever Considered Composting With Worms?

Composting with worms has its good points, including a consistent supply of fish bait and garden compost.

Composting with worms may not be for the faint of heart, but it's an excellent way to convert organic kitchen and lawn waste into rich, fertile compost for your garden. You fertilize your roses, save on landfill space, and save the Earth all at once -- and those are just a few of worm composting's good points.

No, really!

While I may play the concept for laughs here and there, vermicomposting (as it's officially known) has a rich history, and it's gaining in popularity among home gardeners. Gardening companies even sell special vermicomposting bins.

The idea is to fill the bin with a heady mix of botanical waste, usually grass clippings and kitchen scraps, and then dump in a few thousand hungry worms. The type of worms varies, but red wrigglers and India blue worms are often used due to their rich castings and insatiable appetites.

Castings and Teas

Not to put too fine a point on it, a casting is what comes out of the south end of a north-bound worm as it chews its way through your leftovers. Unlike most poop, it's clean and doesn't smell bad, and frankly, worm castings are some of the best fertilizer you can imagine.

As moisture percolates down through the castings, it'll be enriched and will collect in a special bin at the bottom of the composter as worm tea. This is pure fertilizer gold. It's 100% organic, so it's safe for the environment--and it's chockfull of all the nutrients plants love. Every plant you own will want some.

How to Apply Worm Tea and Castings

Castings can be directly mixed into garden or container soil as an amendment, just like any other form of compost. But you have to be a bit more careful with worm tea, since it contains a lot of nitrogen and can chemically burn some plants.

All you need to do is mix about four cups of tea into enough water to make a full gallon. You can use a plastic milk jug for this purpose. Then just water your plants directly with the worm tea.

Other Vermicomposting Benefits

Since your worms will most likely be happily reproducing as they convert your compost to fertilizer, it shouldn't hurt to occasionally take a few for some other purpose.

What sort of purpose, you ask? Well, worms do make excellent snacks for pet birds and chickens, which need the occasional bit of protein any way. And if you compost with worms, you'll never lack for fish bait!


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