5 reasons to compost with worms

November 3, 2015

A common concern when composting is how to create quality compost faster, so that more batches can be made each year. That takes a lot of  work turning compost to aerate it. And people worry their compost will smell poorly. Well, there's a solution. Here are five excellent reasons to add worms, nature's expert soil builders, into your composting system.

5 reasons to compost with worms

1. Faster composting

Red worms break down compost into soil faster than bacteria. This is because worms, in nature, are born soil builders and it's their job to compost. They're perfectly primed to do it, moving small food scraps through their bodies to refine them into soil. They do this with a gizzard, the same way chickens digest, which is why a little grit provided by coffee grounds or crushed egg shells will help them do their job.

2. More aeration

As they wiggle through the soil, worms aerate it--removing the need to turn the compost. They need the oxygen to survive, and so do their allies - the bacteria, so it's no surprise they get to work aerating the soil they're building. It's simply a natural side effect of constantly moving about as they process food scraps.

3. An experience everyone can learn from

It's a fun science project for the whole family. Family members of all ages can watch and learn as red worms take their biodegradable trash and turn it into soil, which can then be used to plant more food...a lesson in biology and gardening at the same time!

4. Inexpensive

Vermicomposting is inexpensive yet will handle all your composting needs. If you're resourceful about where you procure the box for the house, the only cost might be the price of the red worms, as you need a pound per every half pound of vegetable and fruit scraps, coffee grounds, and crushed egg shells you produce. However, it's possible to get some worms from a friend who composts though as they reproduce. The bin can be re-purposed from an old dresser drawer or shallow plastic bin and the drilling tool can be borrowed.

5. No need for professional help

You can do it yourself. The whole family can help in age-appropriate ways, too. Some can collect plates after meals, others can sort it into what worms can process, others still can chop it into little pieces and everyone can add it in and observe the worm's work in progress.

In closing, here are some considerations

  • Don't add animal fat and meat scraps because they attract pests and are difficult for worms to digest.
  • Worms might have a tough time digesting onion or garlic skins.
  • Remember to collect the worm castings that leak from the bottom and dilute them to add to your soil directly.

Worms really do make the job of composting so much easier and so much cheaper.

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