As a young person without a full set of power tools, getting the worm composter (or vermicomposter) underway took me a couple of weeks. Once you get started, its a very fast process to build one of your own!
My disdain for plastic in general led me to try out a natural wood composter, that would allow me to compost year-round, and indoors. I am so thrilled to have started the process of turning my unused food into rich soil for my plants.
I started off using Red Wigglers worms. I have read about subtle differences between these worms and the other popular composting worm, European Nightcrawlers. The Red Wigglers seem to be a bit hardier with respect to pH balance, which was just what I was looking for for my first go at having a worm bin!
I found the vermicomposting start-up a lot more difficult than they seemed in the DIY tutorials, and I have to admit my first batch of worms did die on me. It may have been that the pH or moisture levels were off, or that my microorganisms (the actual food for the worm) got out of hand. Luckily, I was able to find someone to trust me with a few hundred more!
At full capacity, my worms should be able to handle about half a pound of veggie waste a day. With all of our cooking and being two people living in this house, we found we will need two worm composters and a big regular composter to handle more of the starchy leftovers that cannot be added (except in moderation) to our worms.
So the first worm bin and our regular composter are underway in the backyard, at least until the summer swelter begins (worms like cool temperatures). I look forward to getting this off the ground and finding new projects (such as book-shelf farming in my apartment) to help use up the dirt!
For a quick photo journey on how I built my composter, check out my vermicomposting page.
Not one for carpentry? The vermicomposter can easily be constructed using a plastic storage bin and a drill for air holes!