Wondrous worms: dos and don'ts of great vermicomposting

In vermicomposting, worms eat and process food and other natural matter in a layered bin and create impressive natural fertiliser. You can then use this compost to improve your garden, or hand it off to friends and family to use in theirs. Here are some tips to make sure your worms and your vermicompost are as healthy as possible.

Wondrous worms: dos and don'ts of great vermicomposting

Do — Use (non-coloured) newspaper

Worms may live in soil in the wild and produce a soil-like compound as they do their job, but you'll want to use shredded newspaper when setting up your vermicompost bin.

First, tear or cut about 50 pages of newspaper into 1-inch (2.5 centimetre) strips. But be sure to avoid any pages that have colour on them since the inks or dyes used may be toxic to worms.

After you've shredded your newspaper, soak it in a large bag or bin. This wet newspaper will act as the bedding, food, and home for your worms.

Do — Cut or break food into pieces

As you feed your worms, make sure to break the food matter into smaller pieces. This will make them easier to eat and digest.

Also, be sure to bury the food when you add it to your bin, rather than leaving it on the top (where it can begin to decompose and cause unwanted pests to call the bin home, too).

Don't — add dairy, meats, and oils

Certain types of foods are wonderful for your worms — especially fruits and vegetables. These materials break down easily in the worms' systems.

However, dairy, meat, and oil products (and even anything buttery) are more complex and therefore take longer to deconstruct, attracting pests and other vermin to the bin before your worms can break them down.

Don't — Overfeed your worms

Worms can only eat about three times their weight in food per week, so don't go crazy adding things to your bin every day.

Just how much waste you can give your worms at once may be a bit of a guessing game at first, but if you monitor your vermicompost bin to see what the worms are or are not eating, you'll get a better idea of how much to feed them.

Using worms to create nutrient-dense compost is a great way to be good to your environment. Consider following these dos and don'ts to set up a convenient bin for vermicomposting in your home today!

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