Power of worms

Anyone can compost their kitchen scraps in their home using the power of worms.  The thought of keeping worms in the house might sound a bit unusual, but vermiculture, or the raising of earthworms and their by-products, is on the rise.  This DIY process can be set up almost anywhere, and is a great alternative for those who don't have an outside area for a compost pile.

Worms & wormeries : composting your kitchen waste-- and more!
by Mike Woolnough.
Preston [England] : Good Life Press, 2010.
Around the world wormeries are coming more and more into the spotlight as governments strive to reduce the level of household waste ending up in landfill sites and look to make better use of the resources that we have available. Mike Woolnough has discovered that worms and their by-products improve his crops enormously, making use of household scraps and rubbish that previously went into his bin. Starting from a small wormery in the conservatory or garden,¬ the author¬ takes you step by step up to a sophisticated system capable of handling all your garden waste, or processing that huge heap of livestock manure that you were wondering how to dispose of, plus a host of other waste items along the way.
Mike McGrath's book of compost
illustrated by Signe Wilkinson.
New York, NY : Sterling Pub. Co., c2006.
Includes index.
Revolution in a bottle : how TerraCycle is redefining green business
Tom Szaky.
New York, N.Y. : Portfolio, 2009.
While a freshman at Princeton, Szaky co-founded a company that produced all-natural, highly effective fertilizer from recycled materials. Every business, he says, should aspire to be good for people, good for the environment, and--last but definitely not least--good for profits.

Composting kitchen scraps like vegetable peelings, eggshells, apple cores, and fruit rinds has several benefits.  It keeps these items from entering the waste stream and taking up space in sealed landfills.  The worm castings, or humus, produced by the worms becomes a great natural fertilizer for gardens and plants.  By turning waste into a useful product people are able to save money instead of purchasing harmful synthetic fertilizers.  It is even possible to turn worm composting into a successful business. 

How many worms you will need?

It depends on how much waste per day you will have. The ratio is 1:2 of waste to worms. Say you have half a pound of waste per day, it is recommended to use one pound of worms.

Setting up worm composting in the home does not take much work or money.  Many families keep their worms under the kitchen sink because it provides easy access when needing to dispose of the food scraps.  Plastic storage containers modified with air holes are commonly used to house the operation.  The size of the container depends on how often kitchen scraps are produced.  Worms used for composting are frequently red wigglers that can be purchased in bait shops.  The threat of worms escaping from their bin is not an issue once the bin is accurately set-up, and odor is controlled by properly balancing inputs.

Kids also get excited to have worms in the house.  It's a great opportunity to learn about science of the natural world!

Article by: St. Louis Public Library staff