Why Indoor Worm Composting?
Indoor worm composting is an effective and enjoyable method for turning kitchen food scraps into rich compost in no time. Indeed, it is easy and inexpensive to get started. Hence, you can do it indoors in a small place, and is odorless. You want to continue a strong composting program year-round, despite cold or heat. Sometimes, it is a bit concerning that composting worms outdoors won’t survive the winter. Or maybe you live in an apartment or city dweller with no yard. Therefore, you have no room on the property for an outdoor bin. So your best option is to have an indoor worm composting.
Furthermore, using worms to break down your food scraps is good for the environment. Undoubtedly, the end product of your compost can be a rich fertilizer that is perfect for gardening. However, If you do not have a garden or own any houseplants, then consider adding them to the soil around street trees on your block. Hence, in this way you are helping your community and the environment.
Things You’ll Need:
- A suitable container
- Moist bedding
- food scraps
Indoor Worm Composting: How To Get Started?
#1 DIY/Buy A Bin
- Find a suitable bin or make your own. Plastic storage bins with lids of 2.2 sq. ft. or a standard plastic storage tub are highly recommended for indoor use. They are inexpensive, durable, and lightweight. Do not use deep containers. They are heavy to move and the bedding becomes compacted making it difficult for the redworms to forage for food.
- Drill a series of 1/4 – 1/2 inch holes in the bottom and lid of your container. Use a sharp drill bit and drill slowly. These holes will provide oxygen to the worms and other decomposer organisms in the bin.
- Place a plastic or metal tray under the bin to catch “leachate”. These are nutrient-rich liquid that percolates through the vermicomposting bin.
#2 Set Bedding
Bedding provides the worms with a cool and moist place to live and
covers your food scraps preventing odor reoccurrence. Surely, these worms will tunnel through and digest the bedding along with the food scraps to produce compost.
- Ripped hand-shredded newspaper or corrugated cardboard into small strips. Avoid the use of glossy or colored paper to avoid intoxicating your compost.
- Soak strips of newspaper or cardboard and then squeeze out excess water.
- Place the strips in your bin about 2/3 full of bedding.
#3 Prepare Redworms For Your Indoor Worm Composting
Red wiggle is the specific worm you will need best suited for indoor composting. Indeed, they are surface feeders of dead plants and animals, commonly found in moist leaf litter and manure piles. Nightcrawlers and other common garden worms, which are usually brown or gray in color, will not survive in a worm bin.
#4 The Right Location
Red worms die in freezing temperatures. So make sure to place them in a place with a temperature range of 55º-75ºF. At the same time, you need to keep your bin covered since redworms are sensitive to light.
Ex. of good location:
#5 Feed Your Worms
You need to have steady supplies of food scraps for your red worms. However, you also need to make sure that you are not giving them dairy products, meat, or food scraps that are cooked in oil. Also, feed them 2-3 times a week. Moreover, you can bury the food scraps under the bedding in different locations. additionally, cover food scraps with torn newspaper to help mask odors. The smaller the food scraps, the better for the worms to digest.
Items to feed:
- coffee filters
- tea bags
- fruits and vegetables
- crushed eggshells
- cut into pieces raw onion or garlic
#6 Monitor Your Bin
Observe your bin daily to ensure healthy living conditions for the worms and to prevent odor as well. Moreover, evaluate the conditions in your bin and amend them as needed.
Signs of a healthy indoor worm compost:
- smells earthy like soil
- food scraps disappearing overtime
- damp yet not soggy
- should have small quantities of other decomposer organisms
#7 Finished Compost
This is the stage wherein you can now harvest your finished compost. Usually, it takes 6-8 weeks to produce a good and healthy worm compost. Hence, the casting resembles dark, crumbly soil that easily breaks apart.
Ways to remove finished compost:
- Spread out a newspaper or tarp on the ground. Move to bed over to the other side of the worm bin. Remove dark crumbly material. At the same time, create tiny piles of compost on the newspaper. Also, make new bedding while you are waiting for worms to gather in the center of your compost pile. Brush the castings off of the top and sides of each small pile and place them in a container. Then add new bedding and food scraps to the empty side of the bin. Moreover, harvest the castings from the outside of each pile and place them in a container. Remove the worms that have clustered in the center of each pile putting them back in the bin. Scoop up the remaining compost and then place them back into the bin.
- Move the contents over to one side of the bin. Then add moistened bedding to the empty side and start placing food scraps on that side. Hence, only add food scraps to the new bedding. Within a month, most of the worms will now move to the new bedding. Now is the time, to harvest your compost.
- After 4-6 months stop feeding your red worms. Also, allow them to eat and digest all the remaining food scraps and bedding. And you will have fine and homogeneous compost.
- After 3-4 months you can also remove 2/3 of the bin contents to be used in your garden. However, you need to add new bedding and then slowly build up your worm population.
#8 Use Your Finished Worm Compost For Your Indoor Worm Composting
Indeed, pure worm castings may have a high soluble salt content. Also, you need to use them carefully avoiding direct exposure to the roots of seedlings. You can also mix your worm compost into the top layer of soil for your potted plants. There is no doubt that worm compost is a good source of nutrients for your plants.