Using a Worm Bin to Turn Ordinary Kitchen Scraps Into Awesome Compost

Worm BinYum! That picture sure helps to build up an appetite! This year, I wanted to start using our kitchen scraps to make compost for us instead of putting the scraps into our yard waste barrel to make compost for the city (and subsequently having to buy compost for our garden every year). I decided to use a worm bin, thinking worms would break down material faster and that we’d get more worms for our yard once we did have compost. The last time we tried this, we ended up attracting drain flies, though I later learned that this was because Tertia was tossing fruit remnants in the bin and not covering them. It was a very big issue for us, since our yard is so small that the bin has to be right by our patio door. This time, I did a lot more research before purchasing a system. I purchased  a Worm Factory 360 WF360B Worm Composter and Uncle Jim’s Worm Farm 1,000 Count Red Wiggler Live Composting Worms. We’ve had the setup going since January and not had any problem with odors or drain flies, though the summer heat will be the true test for this.

Dora has vacillated between fascination and repulsion in regards to the worms (as have I, if the truth be told). She has been very involved, however, with helping to “feed” and “water” the worms, as well as helping with layering the compost materials. Overall, the worms have been very low maintenance. Once we had all the trays full, we have just had to water them once a week.

Unfortunately, this system is just too small for our family of seven people and three pets, even when I expanded it as much as possible. I even added another thousand worms, but the worms can only eat so many banana skins and apple peels a week. So I recently ordered a traditional composter. Based on it’s design, I’m hoping it can hold more. At the very least, we’ll have two systems going, so we’ll get twice the compost. I’m really hoping that I never need to buy compost again, as the first seven years that we lived here, I spent hundreds of dollars a year trying to rebuild that natural ecosystem in our soil that the builders destroyed when they built our house (this is a problem with all new housing, between scraping off the top soil when they clear the land and compacting the soil when they drive their heavy machinery on the land, construction crews wreak havoc on soil).

What about you? Do you have a worm bin or compost pile? If so, is it near your door? Does it attract flies or smell? Do you know any other secrets to controlling odors and flies (other than covering all “greens” with “browns”)?

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Maureen

Labels: Gardening
Posted by Maureen Sklaroff