Sunday, July 11, 2010

Worm Composting Bin

One way that Jason and I try to be more sustainable is by composting. We have a tiny yard (made even smaller by our 4 garden beds) and no good space for a regular compost bin. Plus we brought with us when we moved my worm bin that I had in my apartment in MN. We can feed all of our food waste to the worms and our yard waste gets picked up by the city.

I got my worm bin from one of my favorite authors, Ellen Sandbeck, from her company LaVerme's Worms.

Ellen has written many books but two of my favorites are Organic Housekeeping and Green Barbarians. After reading Organic Housekeeping and sending it to a few friends, I happened to see the book at a stand at the Minneapolis Green Expo. I told my friend Tanya how much I loved the book and crazily enough, Ellen, the author, overheard me. I had never met an author that I loved before. Anyways, buy her books and check out her worm bins. Back to the blog post...

It was nice because it came fully equipped with bedding and worms so I didn't need to figure out how to get the right pH and all of that stuff for the worms. We mentally split the worm bin into 6 quadrants and each week we feed a different quadrant. By the time that we get back to the original quadrant, all the food has been eaten by the worms. The liquid left over from the food gets filtered to the bottom and out a spigot. "Worm Juice" is a great fertilizing tea for our garden.
I use unbleached paper and sewing scraps as dry bedding since San Diego doesn't get many fall leaves

The worm bin after moving the dry bedding

pouring in the food for my worms

Lately I have been blending all of our food scraps. Since in the summer we eat a ton more vegetables, we have lots more food scraps for the bin. By blending them, I can get more food food in each quadrant and the worms can eat it quicker. Jason says that I am coddling the worms, but I am just making it work. It's a little gross, but worth the effort.

Putting the scraps in the blender

Although it looks gross to us, the worms say, "YUMMY!"


  1. I have been working on this post all week, and when I went out to the bin today to feed it a week's worth of food scraps, I saw lots of black flies buzzing around it. A bad sign. When I took off the bin, all of the worms were at the top of the bin (some had even tried to climb out the top) and it smelled really bad.

    We had our first week of really hot weather (90's and into the 100's some days) and though we put a "space blanket" on the top of the bin to try and reflect the heat, my best guess is that it got too hot for them. I was able to harvest some worm castings for the garden, but the rest was a smelly, gross mess.

    The same thing happened last year. I guess that unless we bring the worm bin inside or have a cooler place to put it, worms composting won't work for us. SO SAD!!

  2. RIP wormy worms. Sad to hear, but maybe we can learn from the accidental temperature experiment. We have a worm bin and its quite magical. All the CSA scraps in and some wonderful stuff comes out! I can't claim to have any input on managing it, but I like feeding it. We actually are looking at expanding our worm condo to a more spacious model. Its a good time for worm real estate investment, so I've been told.