Recycle Kitchen Wastes Using a Home Worm Bin
Recycling your kitchen wastes using a home worm bin is an easy, ecologically sound way to dispose of kitchen wastes. Just think about how much water is used every day when you wash garbage down the garbage disposal in your sink!
Besides saving water, a worm bin produces an organic compost that can be used instead of chemical fertilizers in your garden and on your house plants. This is a fun and educational activity for youngsters. They will learn something about the biology of worms and also the importance of reusing and recycling to preserve resources.
Here are 10 easy steps to setting up your worm bin:
1.Select a container to house your worms. Both wooden boxes and plastic storage bins work well.
2.Determine what size you need based on the amount of waste you generate per week. An average household of 4 creates 6 lbs of food waste per week. They would need a 6 sq ft bin. (2 x 3). Keeping your container fairly shallow 12-18 helps keep the bedding from compacting and makes it easier to handle.
3.Your bin should also have a lid to keep predators out and protect your worms from exposure to light and sudden temperature changes.
4.Drill some holes about 1/8 diameter and about 4 apart in the sides and bottom to provide air circulation and good drainage.
5.If you keep your bin indoors, set it up on blocks and place a tray or thick layer of newspapers under it to catch any excess moisture that may drain out of the bottom..
6.Add damp bedding to the bin. Strips of old newspaper, shredded paper, leaves, or peat moss all work well. Use what you have. Make the bedding about 6 deep.
7.Add the food waste. You can add the food in piles or spread it out into a shallow layer. But cover it with about another 2 of damp bedding. Worms will eat anything that has once been alive including paper. Vegetable scraps, spoiled leftovers from the fridge, cereal, fruit rinds, coffee grounds (including the paper filters), and stale bread all make great worm food. Dont feed raw meat, dairy products, or pet feces.
8.Each time you add food, stir the bedding up to loosen it and keep it from becoming packed down. It is important to keep the air circulating to allow the rotting process plenty of oxygen. If your bin gets stinky the food is not getting enough air as it decomposes. Frequent stirring will prevent this. Always cover the food with additional damp bedding.
9.You may need to add moisture from time to time in addition to the food. Never let the bedding dry out. Sprinkle lightly with water. Fruit juice is even better. If the bin is too dry, the food will stop rotting and the worms will not be able to eat it.
10.Place your worms into the worm bin. Be sure to dump in all of the old vermicompost that came with your worms. This compost material contains lots of micro-organisms that your bin needs to help keep the wastes decomposing so the worms can eat it.
The process is fairly slow at first. You wont see much change from day to day. The worms will grow if you provide the basics:
Moist dark environment
Rotting Food (kitchen wastes)
Bedding to allow air circulation
Stable temperature between 60-75 degrees inside the bin.
You can learn more about your home worm bin or order Red Wiggler Worms at our web site: http://www.wormlady.com
About the Author
Sherry Palmer studied horticulture at South Puget Sound Community College and established a small organic farm, Creekside Gardens, on the land where her parents and grandparents once farmed. She raises Red Wiggler compost worms and promotes recycling of kitchen wastes using a home worm bin. Her web site www.wormlady.com is a great guide to raising worms and offers online sale of Red Wigglers.