Simplify your worm composting by doing it in a bag! Here’s how…
Making your own worm compost is a great way to supply your garden with nutrient-dense soil that supports healthy and productive plants. Worm composting is easier than you may think, and is a great alternative to large compost piles if you don’t have a lot of outdoor space.
There are a number of different ways to compost with worms – from DIY-worm composters, to purchased worm composting kits. But one of the easiest ways of all is described in this article from UrbanFarm.org: make your worm compost in a bag!
All you need is a bag, some worms, and a medium for them to live in – plus kitchen scraps to feed them.
To start with, you’ll want to find a large bag made of woven plastic strands. This will allow for airflow and drainage. Sandbags and some types of feed sacks are often made of this material.
Before adding your worms to the bag, you will want to put in some bedding. Canadian peat moss is a common worm bedding material, coconut coir may be substituted and is somewhat more sustainable. You can often find this in compressed blocks in garden stores or nurseries. If you get the block kind, you’ll want to decompress it first by soaking the block in water for several hours. You want your bedding to be damp – not wet, so if your bedding material is loose and dry, mix in a bit of water to resemble a just-damp sponge before adding it to the bag.
You can then add your worms. You will want to add approximately half the weight in worms as your bedding. So for example, 1 lb of worms to 2 lbs of bedding. A good amount for a large bag is about 4-5 lbs of worms (with 8-10 lbs of damp bedding material).
Once your bag is filled, it’s time to hang it. You want to make sure the bag is hanging up off the floor to maintain airflow on all sides.
To feed your worms, add small, thin pieces of fruit or vegetable waste on top of the bedding, a little at a time. Partially decomposed waste is ideal. You can store your kitchen scraps in a large bucket with a lid to avoid odors as you allow them to begin decomposing. Check your bag every day or two, and only add more food after the previous addition is completely gone.
About once a week, add a small handful of fine sand to each of your bags. Like birds, worms need a bit of grit to help with digestion.
You’ll also need to properly maintain and empty your worm bags to keep them healthy and productive.
How to maintain your worm composting bags:
a. Once per week, empty each of your bags onto a flat surface. Place a light over the contents of the bags, thus causing the worms to go down into the bedding.
b. Take a flat piece of wood, to be used as a ‘scraper’, and scrape the top few inches of black bedding off and save these worm castings into a separate container. Wait ten minutes, until the worms go down further into the bedding, then repeat the scraping of the top few inches of bedding off, and wait until the worms go down again – just repeat this process until you have most of the black, rich worm castings removed.
c. Add new peat moss in a container and mix with water until the bedding is only slightly moist. You really don’t need to add water to the dry peat moss, if you are adding damp waste, such as decomposed fruit. The decomposed fruit has enough water in it. Now add this mixture of peat/water to the bags that you removed your worm castings from.
d. Wait one day after you made up the new mixture for your bags, then begin feeding your worms again with a small amount at a time.
Repeat this process weekly.
Read more at UrbanFarm.org…