Composting Kitchen Surpluses: Eggshells, Coffee Grounds, and Orange Peels

At Uncle Jim’s Worm Farm, we get questions about how to compost three common kitchen scraps: eggshells, coffee grounds, and orange peels. These are all popular foods and beverages. On average, we consume approximately 1 egg and 2 cups of coffee per day. That’s a lot of scraps! Fortunately, composting worms can take the burden off landfills and incinerators. These and many other kitchen scraps can be turned into free fertilizer by composting them with worms. Composting can be successful at any scale. Single apartment dwellers, large families, restaurants, coffee shops and even institutions can compost unwanted organic materials. If you don’t already have a composting program

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What do to with Kitchen Scraps: Reduce, Compost, and Re-Grow

Your kitchen trash has a significant amount of organic material. Much of this is compostable. Hauling organic matter off for landfill internment or incineration is a huge waste of energy and potential. Can kitchen scraps be re-grown into new food plants easily? What can you do to reduce the production of kitchen scraps and wasted food? Can composting help? Re-Grow Plants You can save money and perpetuate the chain of life by re-growing plants. Cutting vegetables in a certain way and cultivating the clippings results in new baby plants. These can be eaten and they are free. Chop the bottom off celery and place in a bowl with a small amount of warm water. Place in direct sunlight. When the leaves start to thicken and grow on the base, transplant to the soil in your garden, greenhouse or container. Left-over whole lettuce, cabbage and Bok Choy leaves can be placed in a bowl with a very small amount of water in the bottom. Place in sunlight. Mist the leaves with water every other day. In three to four days, roots will appear. Plant in the soil.

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How to Make a Wood Pallet Composting Bin

When you want compost outdoors, a very inexpensive bin can be made from wood pallets. These large wooden rectangles easy to find at local stores, warehouses and any business that receives shipments by truck. Reusing pallets reduces waste and saves money. All you need is a little elbow grease, a few tools, and some inexpensive supplies. When your composter is finished, you can start a productive composting program. Adding composting worms makes the composting process go faster. Soon, you will have free compost to help your garden and lawn grow. To start, find a location for your worm bin. Put it a short distance from the

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How to Avoid Over-Feeding Composting Worms

If you are composting with worms, you need to feed them the right quantity of food scraps. How much food is too much? Over-feeding your composting worms can cause problems in the bin, including odors, acidity, excess moisture, pests and sick worms. What should you do to prevent and address these issues? Here are Uncle Jim’s guidelines for feeding the right amount of scraps to composting worms. Quick Check: How Much Food is In There? Dig around in the bin. How much undigested organic material is in there? The worms should start working on a feeding within a few days and finish it within 1 to 2 weeks. If you see large amounts of food, you are probably overfeeding. Under ideal conditions, worms can eat their weight in scraps per day. So if you have 1 pound of worms, you can theoretically feed them 1 pounds of scraps. However, we recommend you play it safe by feeding an amount they can handle every 2 or 3 days. Over-Feeding Causes Odors The most noticeable sign of overfeeding is a foul odor. Worm bins should have an earthy smell. If your nose is offended, your worm bin needs improvement. The worms’ job is to eat the

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Composting with Worms in Cold Weather

When the weather is cold, your worm outdoor composting program might need some adjustments. Worm are living creatures that can be harmed by low temperatures. You can choose not to worry about it, or you can take steps to protect the worms. Either way, your composting program can continue throughout the winter. If you let nature take its course, your worms might expire. The center bottom of your worm bin will probably be the warmest part. They will likely migrate there. The decomposition process generates some heat. However, if you live anywhere in the northern United States, chances are the worms won’t make it. It is possible your worms will have laid eggs. These hardy eggs can survive the cold temperatures. If you don’t see many worms in

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How to Make a Chicken Wire Composter in 10 Minutes

If you are new to composting with worms, you will need a composter to house the bedding, worms and food scraps. The worms will usually stay put if you provide a secure abode for them to live in. They love dark, moist bedding and regular feedings of food scraps. After the worms have eaten scraps for a few months, you will be able to harvest the finished compost and use it on your garden, lawn, and indoor plants. Uncle Jim made this video about building a simple composter in just 10 minutes. It uses chicken wire, poles, and a bag of Red Worms from Uncle Jim’s Worm Farm. Watch it here:

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Worm Blankets and Lids: Best Coverings for Your Worm Bin

Composting with worms usually involves covering the bin to control moisture. Worms respond to their environment. If their world is too wet or too dry, they will be less productive and possibly even die. Composting with worms is a great way to turn kitchen and gardening scraps to into valuable fertilizer. One key to success is finding the best covering for your worm bin. Worm bins can be indoors or outdoors. Indoor composting systems are typically small, tray-based plastic composters, such as the Worm Factory 360 (which can also go outside). The Worm Farm Kit and bins made from plastic totes can be used indoors or outdoors. Outdoors composters can be tray-based, or large bins. These can be made from plastic, wooden pallets, lumber, or chicken wire. Coverings for Indoor Composters Indoor composters are not subject to the same temperature and

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Help Your Composting Worms Keep Their Cool in the Hot Summer

In the summertime, things start heating up in your outdoor worm composting bin. Unfortunately, if the bin temperature gets too high, the composting worms will overheat, dry out and die. There are many things you can do to keep your worm population cool enough to survive. Placing the worm bin in the right location is the most important way to control the internal temperature. Exposure to the sun heats the bin up more quickly than you might think. So keeping your bin out of the sun will keep the temperature down. Pick a spot that is shady for the entire day. Try placing it under an awning or shed roof, under a shady tree or next to tall bushes. Just don’t place it right up against the house, or local vermin might get the wrong idea and start muscling in on your home. Depending on the type of bin, you may need to provide

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How to Make a Screen to Separate Worms from Compost

If you have been composting with worms, you will occasionally want to harvest those valuable worm castings. This completed compost is rich in nutrients and perfect for the garden. Completed compost helps plants grow strong. One way easy to separate the worms from the compost is to use a screen. Here at Uncle Jim’s Worm Farm, we use more sophisticated machines to separate hundreds of thousands of worms a week. For

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