A worm bin is a great way to create healthy compost in a small space, as it only involves using a plastic bin, moist newspaper and kitchen waste. Build a welcoming environment for composting worms with help from an organic gardener in this free video on nutrient-rich fertilizer.
Hi. My name is Willa Galloway and I'm a west coast-based organic gardener. On my website digginfood.com, I teach people to grow their own vegetables and cook with seasonal ingredients. I also spend a lot of time helping people learn how to grow really beautiful, productive gardens without using chemicals. So, today I want to show you how to convert a regular plastic storage container in to a worm bin. And, worm bins are great for people who live in apartments or who don't have room to compost outside because you can still recycle your kitchen waste into great compost. But, you can do it in a small space and worms do all the work for you. I've drilled ventilation holes all along the top. The holes are spaced about an inch and a half apart. And the rows are about that far apart too. And then, I also drilled ventilation holes in the lid. Because worms are living creatures, so, they need oxygen too. And then also, I drilled some holes in the bottom of the bin because liquid will collect in the bottom of the bin and you don't want it to get too soggy inside. So, you want some drainage holes. And you'll just keep the bin up on some bricks over a little drip tray. I just use an extra lid to catch the liquid that comes out. So, once you get your bin all set up with drainage holes and ventilation holes, then you'll need to make bedding. And outdoor worms like to live underneath leaf litter, but in your worm bin you can use paper. And, I just use strips that are about two inches wide of black news print. And all I do is plunge it into the sink or a bucket filled with water. A real quick dip and then you squeeze it out so that it's about the same moisture level as a damp wrung out sponge. And so that'll be a nice environment for the worms. And you want to fill the bin up about 2/3 full with this paper. And so once you get it in there, just make sure just make sure it's nice and fluffy. So, just get it all fluffed up so that the worms can move about easily. Now, you won't be using regular old earthworms in your worm bin. You actually want to use red wiggler worms, or sometimes they're also called composting worms. And they love to eat kitchen garden waste, and they don't mind living in the small space indoors. So, to put them in your worm bin is, all you do is just sprinkle them easily and evenly over the top of the paper. And you'll need to feed your worms. They will eat the bedding, but you want them to eat your kitchen waste. And so, the worms will go at the kitchen waste a little better if you bury it inside. So, just stick it underneath some of that newspaper. Bury it a little bit in there. And they'll start to eat it. So, the worms, they take about three months to eat through all the bedding and the kitchen waste that you're continually putting in. And what you'll end up with is a bunch of vermicompost. And, vermicompost is earthworms' waste; and it's full of lots of nutrients and it's great organic matter. And so, once your bin is mainly this kind of dark crumbly vermicompost, what you do is stop feeding your worms for about a week; and you pull all of the vermicompost over to one side of the bin and put new paper bedding in the other side. And then, you start putting food waste just into the new bedding. And the worms will get a clue that the food is over on the other side, and they'll crawl over there and start feeding in the new bedding, and then you can harvest the vermicompost. And it makes a great fertilizer. It's really high in nutrients. I like to put a couple tablespoons in the bottom of my planting holes when I'm planting tomatoes, peppers and eggplants. And then, it also makes a super nice top dressing for houseplants because it's this really pretty, dark brown material, and it's nutrient rich and it doesn't have any scent. So, it's a lot better than fish emulsion or some of the other organic fertilizers.