Vermicomposting, Hot, or Cold Composting?

Are there differences between vermicomposting, hot composting, and cold composting? Let’s talk about three different types of composting. All these styles of composting break down waste organic matter into natural fertilizer. What are the benefits of each? When is it best to use vermicomposting – composting with worms – versus hot or cold composting?

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How Do You Compost with Worms in the Cold Weather?

Can you compost with worms even in cold weather? If you live in an area with temperatures below 57 degrees during the winter, you can still compost with worms. However, you need to decide how to operate your composting bin. Worms are made mostly of water, so exposure to below-freezing temperatures will kill them. Uncle Jim’s Worm Farm recommends you choose one of the following options:

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Six Tips for Gardening in Dry Weather

Even short periods of hot, dry weather in the summer can stress plants. When it is hot out, water evaporates quickly from the soil, and if you’re not getting rain, you’ll need to water properly. Here are six tips to keep your plants healthy in dry weather. Keep Soil Moist with Mulch Mulch minimizes evaporation from the soil, so the water stays where you want it—at the roots of the plant. Mulch provides a bonus for your garden: it keeps down the weeds. Mulch can be made of bark, wood, chopped leaves or compost.

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7 Ways to Speed Up the Composting Process

Composting is a great way to turn organic waste into valuable fertilizer for your garden. Just save kitchen scraps, such as carrot peelings and cabbage cores, and put them in a composting bin. Composting is usually done outdoors, but if you compost with worms, you can compost outdoors or indoors. If you want to start using the finished compost to fertilize your garden soon, you need to speed up the composting process. Here are 7 ways to speed up the decomposition and make fertilizer faster.

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Fertilizer or Compost In Your Garden? Which is Better?

If you use compost in your garden beds, you may not have to use chemical fertilizer at all. Adding synthetic fertilizer if it’s needed can be helpful, but when it’s not needed, it can be bad for your plants and for the environment. Don’t guess—test to see whether you need fertilizer. Problems with Synthetic Fertilizer Using too much fertilizer can actually damage your plants. Fertilizer burn disrupts water uptake by the roots. The damage will show up as brown spots on the leaves. Too much fertilizer can also damage the environment. Synthetic fertilizer can be washed out of the soil by rain and get into nearby waterways, polluting the water. This stormwater pollution can make beaches unsafe for swimming, threaten the quality of drinking water, kill fish and other wildlife and make fish unsafe to eat. In addition, the production of nitrogen for synthetic fertilizers uses lots of natural gas, which can contribute to climate change. Why You Should Test Your Soil If your soil lacks certain nutrients, using a fertilizer can help it. If your soil doesn’t need fertilizer, adding a fertilizer can make your garden worse. Soil test kits are inexpensive, fast and easy. You can test for nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and potassium (K) with the Rapitest Soil Test Kit here. The Rapitest also tests for pH levels, telling you whether your soil is acidic or alkaline. The kit includes instructions on how to amend your soil, if needed. How Compost Helps Compost provides benefits that synthetic …

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What You Should Put into Your Compost

To reap a harvest of rich compost for your gardens, make sure you add the right ingredients to your compost bin—and keep the wrong ingredients out. Good ingredients for your compost bin: Peels from potatoes, carrots, onions, bananas, oranges and other fruits and vegetables. Apple cores, stems, inedible leaves and other parts of fruits and vegetables. Corn cobs and pumpkin shells. Because of their size and thickness, these take longer to break down than vegetable peels or apple cores do. Snapping the corn cobs in half and cutting up the pumpkin shell speeds up the process. Egg shells. Coffee grounds and filters. Yes, you can throw the filter into your compost, too. Tea bags. Whether you can compost tea bags depends on the brand. With some brands, the bag break down nicely. You will never see the bag, cardboard tag or string again. However, bags from other brands don’t break down as easily. You shouldn’t be able to find the tea bags six months or a year after you have added them to your compost. Garden waste, such as wilted flowers, grass clippings and houseplants. However, don’t add any plant that may be diseased. Autumn leaves. Shred the leaves or run over them with your lawn mower. If you’re using a lawn mower, spread the leaves on a driveway. If you mow the leaves on your lawn, it will be difficult to rake up the chopped bits of leaves. Kitchen paper, such as used cupcake holders, used wax paper, used …

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Get Rid of Dog Poop with a Pet Waste Composter

Did you know that you can actually compost your dog waste and cat litter? It’s not difficult, but you have to use a special composter that extends below the surface of the soil. You can make a pet waste composter yourself or buy a Pet Poo Worm Farm. Whether you make your own pet waste composter or buy one, there is no smell. And the decomposed pet waste and other material you add to your composter will improve the soil below the surface. Why you need a pet waste composter You shouldn’t mix dog droppings or cat litter into your regular compost. Pet waste can contain harmful pathogens, but your home compost doesn’t get hot enough to kill those harmful organisms. Compost that is contaminated with pet waste could spread pathogens to lettuce and other food plants in your garden. Eating that food could make you sick. Picking up pet waste with a plastic bag and throwing the bag into your garbage isn’t a good option, either. Most trash ends up in landfills, and landfills can pollute the surrounding soil, air and water. You could just leave dog waste on your lawn, but that will ruin the grass. Plus, no one wants to step in poo! How a dog poop composter is different from regular composters The goal of each composter is different. With a regular composter, gardeners are trying to make plenty of compost that they can spread on top of their vegetable beds and flower beds. The aim …

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Maximize Your Output with ‘Hybrid Composting’

Most gardeners use one of two kinds of composting: cold composting or vermicomposting. But there’s no reason you can’t combine the two. What we call “hybrid composting” can increase the amount of compost you produce and speed up the process, too. Types of composting Vermicomposting uses worms to break down plant matter and food scraps quickly. You can get finished compost in just a few months.  Cold composting is usually done outside with a compost bin or compost pile. The system relies mainly on microorganisms to break down plant matter and food scraps. Cold composting can take six months to a year to produce usable compost.  In a hybrid composting system, you add worms to your cold composting bin. Advantages of using worms in compost bin More room to create compost. Vermicomposters are small, so you are limited in the amount of material you can compost. If you have large bags of autumn leaves that you want to compost, you’ll need to turn to cold composting in an outdoor bin. An outdoor compost bin will also provide more room for kitchen scraps such as carrot peels and coffee grounds. Note: Don’t use spinner composters with worms.  Speed up the process. Instead of relying on just microbes to break down the plant matter, the worms will be doing their part, too, by eating food scraps and yard waste. How to start hybrid composting Layer your materials in your compost bin. Put the freshest, least composted materials on the bottom. These materials …

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How to Keep Fruit Flies Away from Your Composting

Fruit flies are annoying little bugs that like to invade the house. The Drosophila melanogaster is attracted to organic matter like fruits and vegetables. Fresh fruit on the counter or in a bowl can attract them. How do they get in the house? Are they preventable? Are there natural methods to get rid of them? For over 40 years, these questions have been bugging Uncle Jim’s Worm Farm customers. Fruit Flies in the House Sometimes a fertile fruit fly comes in through an open door or window. It’s more likely, however, that their eggs, pupae, or larvae have hitched a ride in your produce. Just beneath the surface of fruits and vegetables is where fruit flies like to lay their eggs. Once in your house, they typically stay near sources of food, though they also gather near sinks and other places, like your kitchen scrap bin and composting bin. Composting Whether it’s inside or outside, families who compost tend to collect their wasted organic materials in a bin or pail before moving them to their composting bin. Many families make use of vermicomposting, which means their bin contains worms that break down leftover food scraps into fertilizer. Worms quicken the composting process. The best composting worms are Red Wigglers. Uncle Jim’s Worm Farm is #1 when it comes to composting worms and supplies. People like vermicomposting because it provides them with all-natural fertilizer that is more nourishing than regular compost. All composting is great for the environment, but fruit flies will …

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The Ideal Bedding for Your Composting Worms

To have the best vermicomposting experience, your worms need the best bedding. Our Red Worms are the best for composting. They will savor your leftovers and produce the best organic fertilizer. The good news is that there are multiple different beddings to choose from for your worms. Uncle Jim has pre-made bedding that you can buy. You can also make your own worm bedding from objects already in your house! Any bedding should mimic a worm’s natural environment. To do this, the bedding should be: Soft and gentle (nothing that might cut their delicate skin!) Porous enough to allow airflow (worms breathe through their skin) Neutral pH balance of 7 Moist (but not too moist, like a wrung-out sponge) Non-toxic Edible materials Our recommended beddings for your vermicomposting bin are: Fall Leaves are good to use as bedding as long as they have been composted beforehand. Fall leaves are currently very abundant. Rake them into a pile and leave it outside through the winter. They will be ready to use as bedding by the time spring rolls around. Brown Corrugated Cardboard can be found in almost any home. Most stores will also give it to you for free if you ask. Your worms will love this type of bedding in the bin. Just shred it or tear it into pieces. Shredded Paper, so long as it is unbleached or from black-ink only newspapers, can make for some good bedding when mixed with other materials. Avoid any bleached office/printer paper or newspapers with colored ink, junk mail, or envelopes containing plastic because these will …

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