Composting With Worms

I’ve got worms! Yet another homesteading dream realized!

That’s probably my favorite tweet of all time. It was back in 2008 or so. And no, I did not have intestinal worms. I had just completed a one-day vermicomposting workshop, and I had attended the BYOB session. In this case, BYOB stood for “build your own bin.” I had my newly made bin with red wiggly occupants sitting in my back seat as I typed that tweet before heading home.

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Worms Eat My Garbage book coverIn addition to the knowledge gained from the workshop, I also read Worms Eat My Garbage, which was — and still is — the classic book on vermicomposting. The book really had all of the information I needed to be successful with my vermicomposting, and I’ve been recommending it ever since. More than 200,000 copies have been sold, and they recently published the 35th anniversary edition.

The new edition features updated info on making worm bins, bedding, more recent environmental concerns that wouldn’t have been addressed 35 years ago, new methods for harvesting worms, more research on pest and disease prevention, and even updated research on the benefits of worm compost on plant growth. I was excited to see the author talk about using soil blockers when using vermicomposting to make your own seed starting mix. Soil blockers are a relatively new invention that allows you to start seeds without needing to buy little seed starting pots of any kind.

I was never successful at starting seeds indoors until I started using vermicompost. I mix it into my seed starting mix, and then I also make vermicompost tea, which I use to water the plants for as long as they are in the house. Once they are transplanted into the garden, I use traditional compost from the composted piles of manure, wasted hay, and straw. That is my entire garden fertilization plan right there, and it does not cost a penny. (Here is more on vermicomposting.)

12 thoughts on “Composting With Worms”

  1. I started vermicomposting earlier this year. My husband and I want to feed our food scraps, cardboard boxes, old newspaper, and shredded office paper and envelopes to our worms, which leaves less garbage for the landfill. In exchange, our worms will create dark, rich castings to use in our garden so we’ll have nutritious vegetables and fruit!

  2. This will be for me, but will share/teach what I learn with others. I want to learn vermicomposting as a valuable tool in our organic garden.

  3. I have a composter, but it does not turn, it just stands on the ground. I have lots of pecan trees, so a LOT of leaves and household garbage go in there. I have planted household garbage which created earthworms in my flower beds, but there are no earthworms in my compost; there are tons of OTHER bugs! How do I get them into my compost? I can grow flowers but always seem to have trouble with vegetables! I think my soil is depleted or I am using the wrong soil! Thanks for the information you provide!

    • There should be any worms in your regular compost pile if it’s the kind that heats up to 130 to 150 degrees. Regular composting and vermicomposting are two totally different things. In regular composting, stuff rots. In vermicomposting, the worms eat your stuff and poop, so vermicompost is worm poop rather than decomposed stuff. Earthworms are nightcrawlers, and their job is aeration. For vermicomposting, you use red wigglers, which you have to buy. Here is more information on vermicomposting:


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