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Worm composter

5140 Views 32 Replies 10 Participants Last post by  raindrop
muhahahaha I'm going to restart my worm composter. It's an odd thing that makes people gasp. Perhaps that's why I like it

It's a no-smell, indoor composter. Apartment-size.

A local vegetarian/activist store sells the worms (they have their own composters and sell the worms from their composters). Most of the worms were "rescued" from fishing stores, which started the process.

So you get the worms and add them to a plastic container. Larger container = larger composter. I like a 1.5' x 1' x 9" plastic container w/ a thin layer of rock, clay pot pieces, etc (for drainage). You can add just about anything as "starter" soil - peat moss, outdoor soil, potting soil, old indoor plant soil, leaves, grass, shredded newspaper. You need to add a little soil to whatever you have, as the worms need grit (however, where I buy the worms, they come in 5lbs of soil already).

Then, you add a little food to the composter every few days. No meat, no dairy, no fat, no eggs (clean egg shells are fine). I find it a great place to put vegetable scrapes, fruit cores, etc. If you follow this, there is no smell AT ALL, no flies, nothing. It looks like a big container of dirt (I keep it partially covered, so my cats won't pee in it). And, if you're lucky, the seeds of fruit often sprout. I grew potatoes in mine one winter
The worms won't eat anything growing.

After a couple months, the soil becomes a rich top soil. THen, I switch the soil from the composter to my plants, add that old soil to the composter and start over.

I had to get rid of the composter because my roommates kept picking at the worms and pestered them. So, I dug a hole in the front yard and let them go.

Those roommates have since left, and I've decided I miss my worm friends who poop for me in return for fruit

Sorry for rambling, but I'm quite excited
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Originally Posted by kristadb View Post

When I need to change the soil in my box (ie starting over with new pre-mulch), I drop a 1/2 cantaloupe into the box, wait a week and then pull the cantaloupe out. Almost all the worms are inside the fruit; making moving a breeze and less disruptive to the worms.
Thank you SO much for this suggestion. Moving the worms out of the old compost and into the new bedding has been the hardest part for me in maintaining my worm bin. I hated having to pick though the old compost and pull out the worms, I was always afraid I was going to squash them.

Also, if anyone is looking to start a worm bin, contact your local county extension office. They can usually give you a list of local sources for red worms. If you can't find any place locally, try this site They have a great price on red worms.
You're welcome. One thing I forgot to mention, it's best to not feed them for 2 weeks before doing this. Don't worry - they won't starve. They'll clean off the last of the food and then will all migrate to the cantaloupe. It really cuts down on the amount of work in seperating the worms out.
Originally Posted by Oatmeal View Post

This is a great tip. Thanks!!
You're very welcome. As a side note, I choose cantaloupe as it is strong enough to last an invasion of hungry worms. I tried it with a tomato once, but I had about 3lbs worth of worms....they took out the tomato in a day.
btw, that worm sex thing was very...odd
Seems kinda dirty, reading about worm sex.
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My worms are doing very well. They've double in numbers now and can finish a whole tomato in 2 days. The soil is turning a reddish-black colour and it has a slight sweet scent to it (I've been mostly dropping in fruits).
i am thinking of Growing Completly Organic Plants in my Grow Room, this interested me for soil.
Yes, it works very well.

You can start w/ organic soil if you wish (the worms need SOME soil).

I like to have them living in mostly soil w/ peat (and then the compost). Every 3-6 months (depending on when the composter got full), I would change plant soils, dumping the old stuff into the composter and starting over. Less waste that way.
This is a very exciting find. I have been planning on starting a "worm bed" (we call it) for composting all the fiber from my juicer and seeds from my wheatgrass.

My parents were in the worm farming biz for a time when I was a kid. I remember my greatUncle loved the worm castings on his garden - He said that it was THE best thing you could add to the garden.

The cantalope thing is a fantastic trick that I will definitely use.

If I recall worms multiply rapidly so..... how many worms do you think I should start out with?

I'm going to use a plastic storage bin about 30 gallon size. We used simple plywood boxes for the biz and kept the surface covered with a layer of carpet or canvas.

I'm so glad to hear that other ppl are doing this indoors - and here I was worried about looking like a weirdo.
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I started off with 1lb of worms. Some places say 3000 worms; where I live, they sell them by weight.

No one will know that you have it, unless you tell them
It looks like a container of dirt!
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Please excuse my ignorance, but could someone give me a general overview of the purpose of "worm composting"? I have a neighbor who talks about raising worms and such, and the above descriptions are interesting. Is it environmentally advantageous to do this?
Pee Wee's Pants - worm composting is an excellent way to rapidly compost food wastes. The worms are industrious little workers that eat up all the junk and leave behind the most fertile soil ever "worm castings." The waste product from worms is quite possibly the best fertilizer you can use on your plants. My uncle called it black gold.

Here are some sights I found that might be helpful.
Thanks kristadb I'll start with a pound too. I'm not too worried about the weirdo thing - just kidding - more likely my friends will steal my beautiful fertilizer.

Also - Pee Wee P's

Adding some of the worms to your garden is an excellent way to keep the soil aerated.
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