Worm Composting 101

Worm Composting 101

keeping your bin is rather simple. Just follow these easy directions

To Feed:

  • 1lb of worms can eat about 1/2 lb. of food scraps per week.
  • Do not feed meat or dairy products (it will start to stink and attract flies)
  •  Try to avoid citrus fruits too much, this can kill the worms and a lot of fruits tends to attract more fruit flies.
  • When feeding, pull back bedding and place food in bottom of box, then cover with bedding.
  • Each time you feed, bury food in a different spot in box to keep the worms moving and prevent too much food build-up in one spot.

To Keep them Happy:

  • Keep the bedding moist, worms need moisture, if the bedding doesn’t stick loosely to your hand when you dig in, then evenly spray on more water, about 1-2 cups should do the trick.
  • Keep the box out of window areas and direct sun light, worms like dark, so interior spaces are best (keep lid closed as much as possible).
  • You can handle worms with no problems as long as it’s not too often. They need moisture. They have work to do and get moody if handled to often.
  • Don’t worry if you develop some mold in the box, the worms will eat it and it helps break down food.
  • If it begins to get stinky (when you open the box) shred some newspaper and lightly dampen the newspaper, or wet and add coconut coir, then add to bedding.
  • Coconut coir (fibers) is good for retaining moisture in the bin. Add with shredded paper and coir for a good healthy mix.
  • Plan to change/replace bedding and harvest castings every 3 to 4 months.

Worm Casting and Tea Facts and Information

  • Worm Castings and Tea will out-perform chemical fertilizer and has been shown to increase plant size and yield. 
  • Plants grown in soil treated with Worm Castings and Tea are healthier.

Why? This is because of the symbiotic relationship between the plant and the microbes in the root zone. Plants feed the microbes and the microbes produce or make available all of the food and medicine the plant needs to flourish.
  • Worm Castings and Tea used as a fertilizer for potting soil will suppress airborne pathogenic fungi that can eagerly infect sterile potting medium. The organisms in Worm Tea also produce hormones, vitamins, nutrients, enzymes, amino acids and minerals needed by seedling cuttings and young plants.
  • The microbes in Worm Castings and Tea turn organic matter into humus, storing energy for later use. This is the basic unit of soil fertility.
  • The microbes in Worm Castings and Tea feed other organisms in the soil food chain. 
  • Plants grown in soil treated with Worm Castings and Tea are more nutritious than plants grown in soil treated with chemical fertilizer. The food value of these plants is increased due to the availability of minerals, vitamins, enzymes and amino acids.
  • Worm Castings and Tea can remediate soil that has been damaged by agricultural chemicals.
  • Worm Castings and Tea applied as a foliar spray will act as a fertilizer. Plants will produce more foliage and larger stems. This is a good treatment for plants that are stressed or lacking enough sun.
  • Worm Castings and Tea applied to the soil improves water retention.
  • Worm Tea applied to a compost pile will accelerate the breakdown of plant material reducing the amount of time to make compost. It can also be used to re-inoculate the pile after it has gone through its hot phase, which inactivates or kills many of the beneficial microbes. Re-inoculation increases the population of beneficial microbes, which continue to breakdown organic matter and form humus.

Ways to use Worm Castings

1. Potting mixes - Mix 1 part worm castings to 3 parts potting mix.

2. Flower beds, shrubs, roses, vegetables - Top dress with 1" - 3" of worm castings and incorporate into the soil with a fork or spade.

3. House plants - Spread 1/2" - 1" of castings around established plant,

scratch into the soil, every 2-3 months.

4. New lawns - apply 10 pounds to 100 square feet. Work lightly into the top.

5. Established lawns and grasses - Top dress at 4 pounds to 100 square feet.

6. Perennials - Top dress 1"-3" in spring, early summer, and fall.

7. All plants and vegetables - apply every 30 days.

Composting 101: Great article by Plow & Hearth about composting from start