Recycling household waste into compost allows the return of organic matter to the soil. It’s an easy and fruitful way to reduce the amount of garbage going into our landfills. At the same time, we can reap the benefits of making our own fertilizer to produce new generations of thriving plant life. Decomposition is, of course, a natural process that takes a certain amount of time, but we can speed things up with worm composting. Yes, I said worms.
Worms are natural recyclers. They love to eat and they turn their meals into a rich, concentrated material that makes a wonderful supplement for any plant’s diet. They can simultaneously reprocess our waste and make our plants happier and healthier. They do not smell, shed or scratch the furniture. They can be very slow to learn tricks, but we will overlook this for right now.
The main point is that worms are extremely efficient at what they do — natural trash disposal through composting. On an average day, an ambitious worm will eat its own weight in things you want to be rid of. They will merrily consume junk like food scraps, eggshells and even newspaper. In the wake of all this activity, they leave behind odorless black gold known as castings. The technical term for this is worm poo.
Seriously though, records of domestic worm composting go back hundreds of years and it’s even more important today cut our contributions to the waste problem. Worms are masters at making the most of our muck. Not only do they transform matter through their own digestive processes, but they promote hungry beneficial bacteria in their little bodies that speed up the whole affair.
Well, I’m sure you’re anxious to get started and want to know how. The most essential component will be the proper housing. Fortunately, worms are not picky and will live just about anywhere you ask them to. The big-time worm farmers call their containers bins. These can actually take the form of large wooden boxes, any size trash can or even a five gallon bucket.
If you have a limited amount of space, you will be pleased to know that many people do this right in their apartment, all year round, using just the floor space in a closet. Remember, two pounds of these critters will eat that much of your garbage each day. If you are lucky enough to already have a compost heap outdoors, it may require a better sealing arrangement to keep them from running away. Really, they sometimes do.
Anyway, I’m going to share some of my favorite worm composting web sites that I normally only tell my closest friends about. The first is Worm Composting Guide which has some really nice photos. These worms are cute. You should also try Red Worm Composting to see how the real worm composting veterans do it.
If you’re reading this, you probably already do some gardening. Well, it’s time to get some livestock. The earth should be full of worms, not garbage.
Photo of hands-on worm composting by flickr user organicnation.