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Vermi-Composting

The Martha Stewart Show, April 2007

Vermi-composting creates a rich compost fertilizer from food scraps. It's a process that promotes easy cleanup and is odorless.

Tools and Materials
Plastic storage container with a lid
Drill with 1/8-inch drill bit
Wooden blocks
Newspaper
Red wiggler worms (eisenia foetida)
Garden soil

Vermi-Composting How-To
1. Create a well-ventilated bin by adding air holes with a drill and bit. Drill many holes on the sides, top, and bottom of the bin.

2. Place the bin on wooden blocks in order to keep the air circulating under the bin.

3. Soak strips of newspaper in water (avoid using colored paper). Wring out paper, separate, and add to bin. Fill bin 2/3 full with bedding.

4. Sprinkle worms gently over bedding. Two thousand worms eat around 7 pounds of food each week. Leave the lid off for a few hours so that worms will burrow.

5. Add one cup of garden soil which will add bacteria, protozoa, and fungi, aiding the composting process. This also adds minerals that will help with worm digestion.

6. Bury food scraps deep into bedding. Rotate placement, encouraging worms to disperse. Feed daily or weekly. Avoid fats or meats in smaller bins. Don't place anything in the bin that is non-biodegradable or pet waste. After a few weeks, bedding and food will start turning into mash. Matter will completely break down in 3 to 6 months.

7. To harvest: Push compost to one side of bin. Fill other side with fresh bedding. Bury food into new bedding. Worms will migrate to new food.

8. Use the compost to top-dress potted plants, incorporate into seed-starting mix, and sprinkle on seed beds. Soak 2 tablespoons in 1 quart of water to create a fertilizer spray that won't burn root systems.

Resources
To purchase vermi-composting supplies, including a vermi-composting bin, visit www.planetnatural.com. Red wiggler worms can be purchased online or at a local bait shop.

Special Thanks
Thanks to Flowerfield Enterprises, LLC. For more information, visit www.wormwoman.com. For more information about vermi-composting, visit www.lesecologycenter.org. Thanks to Planet Natural for providing worms for this segment. Learn more at www.planetnatural.com.

Comments (2)

  • ibcrafter 15 Dec, 2008

    What a great idea! Now I don't have to go through the snow to dump scraps on my garden! Bless you Martha!

  • TanyaDeshields 10 Jun, 2008

    Congratulations are in order!!!! I just checked my compost bin today and I have baby worms! Its kind of like having sea monkeys that eat your garbage!