The Anatomy of a Red Wiggler Composting Worm – Eisenia fetida

The best type of worms for your composter is the Red Worm (Red Wiggler). Their voracious appetites, medium size, and heartiness make them ideal composting worms. Falling into the genus “anulus,” meaning “ring” in Latin, the Eisenia fetida has up to 120 circular rings. The Red Worm Body On the outside of the red wiggler worm is the cuticle. Below this, the epidermis is skin-like tissue that sends information to the nerve tissue. Sensory information travels from layers of nerve tissue to the nerve cord. Data is processed in the cerebral ganglion, which is the worm equivalent of a brain. Ever notice the rings on a red worm? These rings

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How Vermicomposting Improves Soil Quality

The best fruits, vegetables, and decorative plants come from high-quality soil. Home-made compost is the most cost-effective way to improve soil quality in your garden. Generating your own compost using worms and scrap vegetation costs pennies per day. Let’s find out how vermicomposting improves soil quality. As soon as an apple hits the ground, the decay process begins. Nature’s cleanup crew includes microorganisms such as fungi and bacteria. Worms dig in. Eventually, the apple is gone, completely broken down into organic components that enrich the soil. When we compost kitchen and garden scraps, we are concentrating this process in a compost bin. The resulting finished compost is easy to harvest. We can then apply the compost to the soil, and grow new plants. The Parts of Soil To make plants grow strong, we need

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Indoor Composting with Worms: 4 Tips from Uncle Jim

Vermicomposting is a great way to reduce trash and make free fertilizer. Composting worms will eat most of the inedible scraps from the kitchen, as well as many left-overs. This is better for the environment than tossing it into the trash. The result is dark, rich organic fertilizer. Worm excrement is treasured by gardeners because it helps plants grow. While most composting is done outdoors, you can run a successful composting program indoors. Some worm owners move operations indoors during the winter. Others do indoor composting year-round for convenience or due to lack of suitable outdoor space. Uncle Jim’s Worm Farm has these four tips for successful indoor composting.

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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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A Guide to Successful Indoor Composting with Worms

Vermicomposting can be done almost anywhere, indoors and out. Using worms to break down your food scraps is great for the environment. Composting results in a dark, rich fertilizer that is perfect for gardening. Composting indoors is a bit trickier, but it can be done successfully. Uncle Jim’s Worm Farm offers this easy-to-use guide to indoor composting with worms. Reasons why people compost indoors include: want convenient indoor access to the composting bin concern that composting worms outdoors won’t survive the winter (although they might lay eggs or could be replaced with a fresh bag of worms in the spring) want to continue strong composting program year-round, in spite of cold or heat apartment or city dweller with no yard no room on property for an outdoor bin It is possible to compost outdoors without

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Why are My Composting Worms Trying to Escape?

Worms in a vermicomposting bin sometimes try to escape. If it’s just one or two adventurous worms, you don’t have much to worry about. However, if you see worms clumping near the top of the bin, at the air ducts, or climbing out, something may be amiss. Let’s find out why composting worms try to escape, and what you can do about it. Note: Worms are sensitive to the weather. If a low pressure system or thunderstorm is moving in, the worms might start clumping and climbing. Watch for a while and see if this is the pattern. If so, do not worry. Need..Gasp..Oxygen Worms breathe through their skins. If they don’t have enough air, they will try to leave the bin. Lack of oxygen could be caused by:

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How to Screen Compost – Separate Fertilizer from Worms, Sticks, and Debris

In this article and video, Uncle Jim’s Worm Farm gives you step-by-step instructions for screening compost. Screening compost is a common way of improving the quality of finished compost. After kitchen scraps and gardening waste has been broken down over several months, it’s almost ready to be applied to the garden. Running it through a screen has many benefits: removes sticks, debris, produce stickers and uncomposted food scraps adds air breaks down clumps into fine pieces removes composting worms, so they can be returned to the composting bin The finer the compost, the better. Good growing soil is loose and fluffy, with plenty of air

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Community Garden Composting: Why and How

Community gardening projects are popping up all over. Setting up a garden helps bring the neighborhood together, makes use of wasted space, improves air quality, provides food for insects and birds, and produces fresh food. If you are involved in setting up a community garden, you need to include a system for composting leftover vegetation. Uncle Jim’s Worm Farm offers these ideas and instructions for establishing functional and safe composting systems. Why Your Community Garden Needs a Composting System If this is the first time you are gardening on this scale,

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Small-Scale Composting with Worms: Vermiculture in the City

Turning kitchen scraps into valuable fertilizer might sound unrealistic to a household in the city. Aren’t composters usually on a large piece of land? No! Vermiculture means using worms to break down food scraps. Their stealth and speed mean you can compost right in your kitchen, balcony or rooftop! Small-scale vermiculture is one way that an urban dweller can help save the environment. It also creates excellent fertilizer for plants, and it’s a fun project. The problem with tossing kitchen scraps in the trash is that mixed garbage stinks! It attracts pests and takes energy to get moved out of the city. Once it has been hauled away, that trash either goes to a landfill or an incinerator. Neither is good for the environment. Landfills waste space and generate methane, a greenhouse gas. Incinerators pollute the air and produce toxic ash.

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What Can I feed my Worms?

A frequently asked question if not the most asked question I get is, “What can I feed my worms?!” So I have decided to come up with a basic list of what you can feed your worms. I will also include a list of things to keep out of the worm bin. Things to feed your worms include: Fruits Vegetables Paper Squash and Pumpkin Eggshells Coffee Bread Pasta Tea Bags Grains Hair Lawn Clippings (aged, fresh clippings may heat up and kill the worms) Animal Manure (not dog or cat) Here is a very basic list of what to not put in the worm bin: Salty Foods Citrus Spicy Foods Oils Foods with preservatives meat dairy There are a few other things to keep in mind when feeding your worms. The smaller the matter the easier and faster for the worms to compost.  Chopping large chunks of food to feed worms is recommended but not necessary. You can puree, freeze, or microwave food scraps before adding them to your worm composter to help break down material. Make sure that food has returned to room temperature before adding it to your worm bin. Try to keep a balance of browns and greens. Browns and greens are nicknames for different types of organic matter to use in composting. Browns are high in carbon or carbohydrates, thus they are organic carbon sources. These foods supply the energy that most soil organisms need to survive. Carbons also help absorb the offensive odors and capture and help …

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