Winterize Your Worm Composting Bin

When the cold winter weather comes, you can keep composting with worms. Composting worms slow down when the temperature drops below 57 degrees. However, below-freezing temperatures will freeze the worms in an outdoor composting bin. You can take steps before the freezing temperatures set in. Uncle Jim’s Worm Farm recommends you choose one of these options: Leave them as-is outdoors Insulate the outdoor bin Partially bury the outdoor bin Move the bin to a warmer place, or Move the worms indoors Option 1: Leave Them As-Is Outdoors Worms are among the oldest

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How Do I Compost Fall Leaves with Worms?

When you rake the fall leaves, you are handling valuable organic material. If you compost these leaves, you will have free fertilizer in the spring! Leaves and other plant waste are the perfect food for composting worms. If you have a yard or garden of any size, you can capture these valuable nutrients by composting. Composting with worms, called “vermicomposting,” is fast and efficient. It’s easier than you might think! And you can start anytime. While your neighborhood might have leaf pickup, question where that material goes. Can you get free fertilizer from it in the Spring? Chances are that you cannot. You would likely have pay and pick up fertilizer during business hours. Keep the leaves working for you by composting in your own yard. Types of Composters You will need a location for your vermicomposting project. A variety of

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Which Compost Pails are Best?

People who compost their kitchen scraps need a compost pail. The compost pail stores organic material for a few days. When some scraps have accumulated, just dump the fruit and vegetable trimmings and wasted produce into the compost bin. Which compost pails are the best? What are the pros and cons of each type of compost pail? Where should you put the pail? How much care does the pail need, and how long might it last? Qualities of the Best Compost Pails You could just let kitchen scraps pile up in a mixing bowl. However, after a few hours, the organic material will start to have an odor. Flies might move in. Uncovered scraps may attract other unwanted insects. You would have to empty this type of compost pail into the larger compost bin after each meal. That is too inefficient for most householders. The best compost pails are: made of a durable material that’s easy to rinse out or wash material is not prone to taking on unpleasant odors allows air flow resists insect invasions has a minimal footprint, or can be hung on a cupboard or wall is easy to handle Types of Materials Compost pails are usually made from ceramic, plastic, or stainless steel. Some have washable plastic liners.

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What are the Differences Between Vermicomposting with Worms and Hot Composting?

Many of our customers ask, “What’s the difference between vermicomposting with worms and regular composting?” Here at Uncle Jim’s Worm Farm, we are experts on composting with worms. Let’s explore how these processes are similar, and how they differ. Which method is more convenient? How can you produce high-quality organic fertilizer for your garden and lawn? Which is fastest? How to Set Up Vermicomposting vs. Hot Composting Vermicomposting harnesses the power of worms to break down organic matter quickly. Regular “hot” composting may attract a few wild worms. However, “hot” composting produces more heat than vermicomposting. Temperatures above 95 degrees Fahrenheit will kill Red Worms. Both methods break down organic waste into fertilizer. Most kitchen scraps, coffee grounds, and yard waste are suitable for composting. The main difference is in the setup of the composting bin or pile. Regular “hot” composting involves throwing organic waste into a bin or pile. The material starts to break down using an aerobic process. The compost pile heats up. The ideal temperature for hot composting is 160 degrees Fahrenheit. At 200+ degrees, it can even produce steam! However, temperatures high enough to steam will kill beneficial microorganisms. Therefore, this type of compost needs to be turned and lightly moistened on a regular basis. This means you lift the organic matter and introduce air with pitchfork or shovel on a regular basis. You need some strength to do this. Or get a tumbler-style composter that you can turn using a crank. Vermicomposting is usually done …

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How to Compost with Worms in the Summer

Many composting enthusiasts worry about their composting worms dying in the summer heat. This is a rational fear. The worms are trapped in an enclosed bin, at the sun’s mercy. However, there are several easy ways to protect the worms from the heat. It’s Not Just the Heat The main problem with warm weather is not directly the heat. The primary problem is dryness. Worms breathe through their skin. If their skin dries out, they suffocate and die. Composting worms must remain moist. A worm laid out in the direct sun can die of suffocation in just three minutes. Worms get their moisture from their bedding. Heat causes evaporation. When the bedding gets dry, the worms cannot breathe as well. They may try

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Vermicomposting: How to Compost with Worms

Composting kitchen and garden scraps using worms is faster than without worms. Adding a bag of composting worms results in richer compost. This dark compost is treasured by gardeners because it contains soil nutrients and living bacteria. Composting with worms is called “vermicomposting.” Vermicomposting is easy, and it’s a fun hobby too! Children and adults embrace their wiggly helpers as working pets. Vermicomposting is also great for the environment. Instead of tossing out scraps vegetation, you create free fertilizer. Let’s find out the benefits of vermicomposting, and how to get started. Why Compost with Worms In nature, worms help break down organic matter into simpler components. They are nature’s recyclers! Worms eat discarded vegetation and excrete a dark material called “humus” (worm poop). Humus contains valuable

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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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