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Vermicomposting, or worm composting, turns kitchen scraps and other green waste into a rich, dark soil that smells like earth and feels like magic. Made of almost pure worm castings, it’s a sort of super compost. Not only is it rich in nutrients but it’s also loaded with the microorganisms that create and maintain healthy soil. Clemson University Extension lists the following benefits of vermicompost in their article on worm composting:

  • provides nutrients to the soil
  • increases the soil’s ability to hold nutrients in a plant-available form
  • improves the soil structure’
  • improves the aeration and internal drainage of heavy clay soils
  • increases the water holding ability of sandy soils
  • provides numerous beneficial bacteria

Because it’s usually made in modest quantities, vermicompost is often used as top or side dressing for one’s most demanding and deserving plants. Mixed with regular compost it adds a boost to garden soil. Blended with potting soil, it invigorates plants growing in containers, outside or in (properly made vermicompost has a slight, natural smell and is perfectly suitable for indoor use).

With the right worm bins and supplies turning table scraps into valuable vermicompost is a cinch! Planet Natural has everything you need to get started: worms, a container and “bedding.” Plus books that tell you just how to do it. Now let’s rot!

In general, having a worm bin requires very little attention. Worms are surprisingly low-maintenance housemates. They don’t need to be fed every day, they make no noise, and their bins only need to be cleaned every three to six months. They can make for a fascinating learning experience for kids that not only includes biology with one of their favorite creatures, but also wider environmental lessons. Composting with worms isn’t just good for plants. It’s also good for the planet. It keeps food waste and other organic material out of our trash and reduces use of landfills. No wonder it’s encouraged by state, county, and city municipalities who deal with waste disposal and its costs, both in dollars and environmental damage. Spokane, Washington offers it citizens information on worm composting to encourage its residents to give it a try. The City of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada posts a page on its City Farmer News that not only contains a video how-to but also offers worm bins to residents. It even has a call-in hotline for composting information. Not to be out done, the state of California has an animated, interactive game that teaches the basics of vermicomposting and its benefits. It’s called The Adventures of Vermi the Worm.

What You’ll Need

In addition to your readily available kitchen scraps, you’ll need worms, a container, and bedding. Planet Natural offers all the worms, composting bins, and supplies you need to get started.

The size of your worm bin (or how many bins you can put to use) and the amount of worms you’ll need will depend on how much usable kitchen waste your family generates. Keeping a record for a week or two of how many pounds of suitable waste you produce (also consider volume) can help determine how large your vermicomposting operation should be.

The Right Worm For the Job

“A worm is a worm is a worm” may sum up your thoughts on the subject, but all worms aren’t created equal. Don’t try using your garden-variety night crawlers. They need to worm their way through dirt to eat and survive and don’t dine on organic waste. Most of the smaller worms found in your landscape are also not suitable. Most of them are likely to be Lumbricus terrestris. The essential difference, besides adaptability, is that L. terrestris is a deep-soil dweller (as its name suggests), while worms for vermicomposting are litter-dwellers that neither need nor want several feet of earth in which to delve.

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5 Kg, 800 grams

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