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?
Comparison of the Three Different Composting Procedures
Vermicomposting comes from the word “vermi,” meaning “worms.” With vermicomposting, you intentionally add a specific type of worm to the composting bin. To do this, you prepare a composting bin with bedding for the worms (“brown” material). Then, you feed them natural food (“green” material). At Uncle Jim’s Worm Farm, we recommend the champion composting worms found in our Red Worm Mix. You can purchase these worms online directly from Uncle Jim’s Worm Farm and have them shipped to your home, workplace, or school. European Nightcrawlers are also terrific for composting, releasing into the garden, and fishing.
Hot composting relies on high internal temperatures. Bacteria and other microorganisms break down the organic material. Turn the compost frequently using a pitchfork or shovel. Mind the mix of “brown” versus “green” matter. With proper care, hot composting can produce functional compost in several weeks.
Cold composting is the least labor-intensive. It likewise takes the longest. Instead of you or the worms doing the work, nature takes its course. Just pitch in brown and green organic materials. Turning the stack is totally optional. The material may stink to high heaven. Completed compost should appear at the bottom after 6 to 12 months. It ought to be done outdoors.
Advantages of Vermicomposting, Hot, and Cold Composting
Vermicomposting has four huge advantages over the other types of composting.
- Odor-free. If you maintain your worm bin properly, it should have an “earthy” smell.
- Indoor or Outdoor. Live in an apartment? Hate going out to the compost bin in the winter?Want to keep composting at the same pace when it’s cold? Vermicomposting can happen under your kitchen sink, in a closet, in the basement, or in your garage or yard.
- Speedy. A well-established, balanced worm colony can munch through its own weight in scraps every day. This means they are capable of turning trash into treasure at a fast pace.
- Highly Nutritious Results. Composting bins don’t just turn out finished compost. The worms poop a highly prized substance dubbed “black gold” by gardeners. This dark material looks like coffee grounds and is filled with natural fertilizer AND beneficial bacteria for the soil. Worm castings are one of the best soil amendments available.
Hot composting’s biggest advantages are composting speed and simplicity. Turn it regularly and mind the “green vs brown” ratios. You should see results in weeks. Also, you do not have to worry too much about what you put in the pile. While composting worms will not be happy with a basket of acidic orange rinds, a hot composter won’t mind.
Cold composting’s biggest advantage is that you can just “set it and forget it.” Let’s say you don’t care how long it takes to make finished compost. You plan on harvesting the compost just in the spring. And you have plenty of land, so the smell is not a problem. Fine. Just chuck all your suitable kitchen scraps* on the top of a compost pile and run away before the wasp stings or the smell knock you out!
Feeding Versus Tossing
A big distinction between composting and vermicomposting is how you add natural products.
With hot and cold composting, you can toss in a broad variety of natural materials. You need to mind the proportion of green products to brown. If you are in no hurry, any size of organic material will do.
If the worms cannot keep up with the amount of food you add, the worm bin may become stinky, too wet, and unwelcoming to worm life. Worms can break down small pieces of food faster. Worms are fussier about the types of foods.
Begin Composting – Which Type? Vermi, Hot, or Cold Composting
Prior to beginning a composting task, do a little research. A farmer may choose cold composting for gardening waste. A farmer or gardener with a lot of outdoor space might opt for hot composting or vermicomposting. The homeowner might prefer the flexibility of composting with worms.
If you decide to attempt vermicomposting, simply browse Uncle Jim’s Worm Farm’s website. We offer a wealth of knowledge on composting with worms. Our Red Worms and European Night Crawlers (Super Reds) are grown in the USA and ready to ship. We offer special vermicomposting bins, making it easy to harvest the fertilizer. In addition, we have composting & gardening products and mealworms. Got questions? Get in touch with us on social media or fill in our contact form.