You wouldn’t believe the amount of email I get over at my About.com site about worm bins. It’s probably the single topic I’ve written the most articles on over there, simply because once I think I’ve got the subject covered, another email comes my way. And I understand. Remember back when I first started my worm bin? My biggest fear was that I would have the deaths of hundreds of red wigglers weighing on my conscience.
Worms Are Tough
I am not exactly an attentive worm farmer. I set the bin up, tried to remember to keep the contents moist, added food when I remembered, and have harvested vermicompost three times (though the bin is sorely overdue for another harvest.) I have gone, literally, weeks at a time without looking at my worm bin, other than when I pass it when bringing laundry up from the basement, and think to myself “I really should check on the worms.” Which is forgotten by the time I’ve reached the top of the stairs.
I’ve refreshed the bin once, this past August. This entailed dumping the contents of the worm bin out on a tarp in the back yard, then sifting worms and coarse materials from the fine vermicompost. Then I refilled the bin with clean, moist bedding, the worms, and a fresh batch of kitchen scraps. I did it that way mostly because there was a nice load of vermicompost in the bin — and very little bedding left. I was also able to see that, despite my lack of coddling, the worms had indeed reproduced, which explains why I need to harvest vermicompost again already.
Did I forget to tell you about how I got distracted and left the bin outside after I refreshed it? In August. On hot cement. And then it rained. And then it got kind of cold. And I left the worm bin outside because I was sure they were all dead anyway after a couple weeks of that. But then I checked, and there they were, doing their wiggly thing. So they came back inside, where they’ve been just kind of hanging out in the basement.
I tell you this story to ensure you that if someone as over-scheduled, scatterbrained, and forgetful as I am can keep worms alive and thriving, there is absolutely NO REASON you can’t keep your worms alive and happy too. If fear has kept you from starting your own worm bin, trust me. There really is nothing to fear but fear itself.
Ready to Start Vermicomposting?
Here are a few useful resources from around the web (including several of my own articles):
Indoor Composting: Bokashi + Worm Bin (I started adding my Bokashi compost to the worm bin over the summer— big success!)
So, what to do with your vermicompost after you’ve harvested it? You can store it until needed in covered containers, and then use it just about anywhere. You can add it directly to garden beds, of course. You can also topdress the soil in your houseplants with a bit of vermicompost to add nutrients or use it as an ingredient in a homemade potting soil mix. But my favorite way to use vermicompost is to make a really good seed-starting mix. No matter how you use it, your plants will appreciate it!