Compost with Worms

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 20,639
    Master gardener Ed Bruske demonstrates how to compost with worms.

    Ed Bruske

    An award-winning journalist for The Wasington Post in a previous life, Ed Bruske is a Master Gardener and president of D.C. Urban Gardeners, a group dedicated to the greening of the District of Columbia through public education and hands-on volunteer efforts. An accomplished public speaker, Ed focuses his lecture activities on composting and soil ecology. He practices daily organic recycling through composting and vermicomposting at his home about a mile from the White House, where he and his wife are transforming their corner lot into an edible landscape. Ed is a personal chef, caterer and chef-in-residence at The Washington Youth Garden, located at the U.S. National Arboretum in the District of Columbia. He also writes about composting and cooking from the garden on his blog, The Slow Cook,

    Hi! I am Ed Bruske from D.C. Urban Gardeners. We are here today in my back deck in the District of Columbia talking about composting, and it wouldn't be complete if we didn't talk a little bit about composting with worms or vermicomposting. Some of you who have been watching these clips may have thought, oh that's a little bit too much work, all that building compost bins, collecting all the compost materials. Or maybe you live in an apartment in the city, and none of that outdoor composting is for you because you don't have anywhere to put it anyway.

    But even if you live in an apartment in the city, you can have a worm composting bin like this one, and compost all of those kitchen scraps. Like I said before, 25% of everything we send to the landfill consists of scraps from our kitchen that could be recycled instead, to help the planet, help global warming, and make soil. Well, what would you do with it? - After you compost it, you ask. Well, you could put it in your potted plants, you could give it to your friends that have a garden or your friends that may be growing up tomato plant out on their balcony, or if you have a garden, a vegetable garden, put the compost on your tomato plants.

    The compost that comes from worms is probably the richest compost, one of the best fertilizers that you can put on your plants. I mentioned before that Darwin made a real study of earthworms. He believed that all the soil on the planet had passed through an earthworm at one point or another. The worms you use for composting your kitchen scraps are not the typical earthworms, they are called Red Wrigglers. They are a little bit different variety; they are the kind of worm you would get at a bait shop. I happened to get mine, online. There are plenty of sources, they come like to a pound of earthworms, an old package of coconut fiber, and you let them rest for a little while and you put them to work in your vermicomposter. This one here I bought online, there are several different models. You can also make them yourself. My first compost bin, or my first worm composting bin was made out of a recycling bin. So, a plastic bin with a lid, some holes drilled in the side so that they have oxygen, and you are ready to go.

    Then all you do is, you put your worms in here, and cover them up with a nice, thick layer of shredded newspaper, moistened, maybe with a little water spritzer, and then every couple of days as you generate scraps in your kitchen, you have some sort of receptacle in your kitchen that you're keeping your scraps in, you just pull the newspaper away, you drop the scraps in, cover them over with the newspaper again and let the worms do the rest of the work. Then when they are all done, when they fill this up, you simply remove the castings - is what its called, what the worms leave behind, the worm poop, if you want to get graphic about it, and that is your fertilizer. All you have to do is keep this nice layer of damp newspaper on top of them, and your worms will be perfectly happy. They don't make any smell, they don't make any noise, you can have this in a closet somewhere, and take care of them there and they won't bother anybody.