Environmental Products

Vermicomposting Red Wiggler Worms

Why vermicomposting?

Vermicomposting (composting with worms) is a great way to not only reduce your waste but also turns that waste into a nutrient-rich fertilizer. This fertilizer, full of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, is amazing for house plants or gardens!

What is vermicomposting?

Vermicomposting is the process of using worms to recycle food waste into a valuable soil amendment called vermicompost, or worm compost. Worms are fed food scraps including raw fruits and vegetables, which become compost as they pass through the worm’s body. Compost exits the worm through its tail end. Red wiggler worms are best for this as they are rapid multipliers and break down compost quickly. Under ideal conditions, they can eat their body weight in food scraps each day.

How Do You Vermicompost?

The key components of vermicomposting are: worms, potting soil, bedding (made of shredded paper), and a worm bin to hold it all. 

 

You can make your own worm bin from 2 plastic totes. Here’s the process:

  1. Purchase or repurpose two 10 gallon (38L) plastic totes with lids. Scrub your bins free of chemical residue. Using a ¼ inch drill bit, drill 15 small holes in the bottom of the first bin for drainage. Next, drill 15 holes all around the top third of this bin and another 15 holes all around the lid for ventilation. 
  2. Take the bin with the holes and place it inside the bin with no holes. They should fit snugly together. The bottom bin catches any water that may drain out and the top bin will hold all your worms. 
  3. Once the bins are set up, add 1L of pesticide-free and fertilizer-free potting soil or a sterile seed starting mix to the top bin, along with 2Tbsp finely crushed eggshells. This prevents the soil from becoming too acidic. 
  4. Once these materials are in the bin, use water that has been de-chlorinated (left to sit out overnight) to wet the soil until it has the consistency of a damp sponge. 
  5. Use chemical free wood shavings or shredded newspaper/computer paper (NOT glossy or construction paper), referred to as dry/brown carbon material, to the dampened soil. This layer is called bedding. Your worms will live in this, and eventually eat the bedding and turn it into compost. Your bedding should be damp to the touch but not dripping water.
  6. Your worms are now ready to be added to the bin. For optimal conditions, the bin should contain 0.45-0.9kgs of worms. Evenly spread your worms over top of the bedding. 
  7. Let your worms settle into their bedding overnight, and the next day, begin feeding them by digging a small hole in the bedding, adding food scraps, and covering again.  
  8. Your stacked worm bin should be kept at a room temperature year-round and out of direct sunlight (eg. in the bottom of a closet). 
  9. Feed your worms weekly, by placing finely chopped veggie and fruit scraps and peelings into varied parts of the bin. Bury the food scraps into the soil and cover with more bedding.

How Do I Remove My Compost When it's Ready?

There are a few methods for harvesting your compost.

Method #1: Under bright lighting, empty composter contents onto a plastic sheet. Separate into pyramid shaped piles. Wait 10-15 minutes. Worms are very photosensitive, so to avoid the light, the worms will crawl to the bottom of the pile. Remove the top portion of each pile. Repeat until there are only worms in the pile.

Method #2: Take the lid off the bin and turn on a bright light. Worms will start moving to the bottom of the bin to avoid the light. As this is happening, remove the castings one layer at a time until you are left with a shallow layer of worms. Add fresh bedding and start your bin again.

Method #3 (for those who don’t want to touch your worms): Feed the worms on one side of the bin for a number of weeks. This will force the worms to migrate to that side of the bin. Once the worms have moved over to the food source, remove the castings from the vacated quadrant. Replace the castings with fresh bedding. Wait a week or two, then repeat the process in the opposite direction, herding the worms into the new bedding. 

 

You are now ready to go! It will take 3-6 months for your worms to adjust to their home and begin making fertilizer so just keep feeding them until then.

What's Available at Green Venture:

Red Wigglers (Just Worms)

$40.00 +HST

We sell our red wigglers ready to be added to your vermicomposting bin in reusable plastic or metal containers (think Maxwell coffee container). The volume is approximately 2 L, about 1/2 pound of worms by weight, which includes: worms, bedding, and some castings. Also known as worm manure, castings contain microorganisms that help accelerate the composting process. It takes a new bin a fairly long time to establish these microorganisms if castings are not added. Please bring your own container if possible.

Worm Shack (Worm Composting Starter Kit)

$70.00 + HST 

Green Venture pre-builds these economical vermicomposting bin systems for clients. The two-bin system allows for good air circulation and less maintenance than a one-bin system and is the perfect size for apartments, basements, and laundry rooms. Vermicomposting offers people with little or no backyard space, or those that have had difficulties with backyard composting, a way to reduce waste and make valuable compost. This system is complete and ready to operate when you receive it. It comes with worms, finished compost, loaded with microorganisms to help with the composting process, and shredded paper bedding — just take home or to the office and add food!

Red Wigglers are sold at the EcoHouse only and cannot be shipped by mail or courier, due to prohibitions on shipping live worms. If you wish to have live worms shipped to you, we recommend www.cathyscomposters.com.

For more information or to reserve your worms, fill out our form found here. We are currently experiencing higher rates of interest so it may take longer to hear back from us.

Worm Composting in the Classroom

Interested in a having a worm bin in your classroom? You can purchase our vermicomposting kit and have a Green Venture staff build it with your students. Our Wiggly Worms presentation allows students to observe a vermicomposting habitat and see how worms produce compost. Contact our Education Manager for more information: education@greenventure.ca or call 905-540-8787, x154.

Please note that we no longer offer the “worm chalet” for sale.