Thursday, August 29, 2013

We Have Compost! Worm Update

I think it's time for an update on our super cheap DIY worm bin, don't you?

Despite some hiccups as we got the hang of maintaining the correct moisture level in the bins, we have had success! A couple months ago the first bin was getting pretty full, so we decided to rest it (that's when you stop adding new material so you force the worms to finish off everything that is in there and turn it into nice compost). I made a second worm bin (same method as my first) and transferred about two dozen worms in there so that we could keep composting our kitchen scraps while the first bin rested. I continued to turn the compost so that it didn't get too damp or packed down, but otherwise tried to leave the resting bin alone. And this past weekend, it looked done!

To sort out the useable compost and get the worms back into a worm bin to do more composting for us, I dumped the finished bucket into a large empty planter pot. Then, handful by handful, I put good stuff into another pot, things that need more time back into a worm bin, apricot pits that somehow made it in went to another pail (the worms can't eat them so they just take up space) and worms themselves got tossed back into the two worm bins.

Here's a nice fat worm:

And here is some good compost being sorted:

Now we're letting the second bin rest, while we continue to feed worms in the first once again. 

I'm very happy with how this experiment has been working out. I wish we had room for a larger worm bin, since especially on big canning days the worms can't handle all of our scraps. But it's certainly better than nothing, and these little guys divert the majority of our kitchen waste from the garbage, instead turning it into wonderful food for our veggie plants. And on a normal (non-canning) week, we really only need to take the kitchen garbage out if there's packaging from raw meat in there! I think this means that when either our complex gets green waste pickup, or we get a house with large compost capabilities, we will definitely be able to bring kitchen waste close to zero. Yay!

I'd love to hear from anyone who has experience with worm bins -- any great advice or stories? Please share!


Linked up to:
Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways at Frugally Sustainable
Waste Not Want Not Wednesday at Poor and Gluten Free


  1. Found your post on Frugally Sustainable :) I don't have a place for a vermicomposter right now (I tried keeping one in a corner in my kitchen for awhile but it kept getting fruit flies), but in the past I have used a stackable one that allows for several trays stacked on top of each other, so you can have several stages of compost going. It had a screen that hte worms could move through so when one tray was ready, they just worked their way up to the next one = super easy and no mess sorting.

    It worked perfectly on my teeny tiny apartment deck.

    I'd love for you come share this on my weekly link up- Waste Not Want Not Wednesday, a place for gluten free recipes and frugal, sustainable tips :)

    1. Thanks for the comment! I will definitely come share over at your blog.

      I have seen those stackable vermicompost set-ups. I'd like to try one out, but for now my free DIY version is working well for us (especially the free part!)