Garden Composting 4 - Vermicomposting

Vermicomposting uses worms to compost. This takes up very little space and can be done year-round in a basement or garage. It is an excellent way to dispose of kitchen wastes.


1. You need a plastic storage bin. One 1' x 2' x 3.5' will be enough to meet the needs of a family of 6.

2. Drill 8 to 10 holes, approximately 1/4" in diameter, in the bottom of the bin for drainage.

3. Line the bottom of the bin with fine nylon mesh to keep the worms from escaping.

4. Put a tray underneath to catch the drainage.

5. Shredded newspaper works well as bedding. Rip into pieces and water well so that it is thoroughly moist. Place on one side of your bin. Do not let it dry out.

6. Add worms to your bin. Redworms are recommended for best composting, but other species can be used. Redworms are the common small worms found in most gardens and lawns. You can collect them from under a pile of mulch or order them from a garden catalog.

7. Provide worms with food wastes such as vegetable peelings. Do not add fat or meat products. Limit feed - too much at once may cause the material to rot.

8. Keep the bin in a dark location away from extreme temperatures.

9. In about 3 months the worms should have changed the bedding and food wastes into compost. At this time add fresh bedding and more food to the other side of the bin. The worms should migrate to the new food supply.

10. After a couple of weeks, open your bin in a bright light. The worms will burrow into the bedding. Scoop out the finished compost and apply to your plants or save for use in the spring.

Courtesy of the U.S. Department of Agriculture