Our Worm Composting Beginning
I’m not sure if our worm composting beginning is different than most. I had been composting (hot/thermophilic composting) for several years now. Any food scraps we obtained in addition to grass clippings and fall leaves when into the compost bin. When we got chickens that reduced a lot of food waste going into the compost bin. This composting was a slow process, taking a year or more. My wife mentioned to me once about worm composting, I just dismissed it as another one of her “crazy idea’s”. A few weeks later she sent me a link via text or email, I cannot remember now, about worm composting. I think it was an article from “Mother Earth News”. I read it and was surprisingly amazed and impressed with the whole process. As I often do, I buckled my seatbelt and began my extreme research on the topic.
As I searched the web, I discovered a website that stood out among the rest. It was redwormcomposting.com, published by Bentley Christie, a wealth of information about composting with worms. I can’t say I did everything exactly the way he recommended, but I trudged along, learning all along the way. Wanting to start as soon as I could with little or no cost, we purchased a couple of bins. See the pic above. They were clear, a no-no, but they were cheap. I figured it would be fine as long as I kept them in a fairly dark place. I learned a lot from redwormcomposting.com and still do. Eventually, I ordered his audio course “Easy Vermicomposting” which was great. I listened to all of it twice and some of it even more.
Our First Worms
Before I realized the difference between common earthworms and composting worms I had gone down to my local creek and dug up a bunch of worms in the moist ground. I put them in that container with some ground leaves, a hand full of dirt, and a little cut up cardboard. I then added some chopped up squash for a food source. Then I decided I wanted some more worms for the other bin but wanted to get actual red wigglers. I did some searching for a local supplier, Midwest Worms, and found a guy named Lonnie, who gave me about half a coffee can of red wigglers for free. He told me those worms I dug up would probably not work. He also gave me about 2 gallons of aged horse manure for free. I eventually ordered another pound of worms to “get the ball rolling faster” you might say.
Upgrading My System
I learned about stacking systems and flow through systems (CFT’s) and decided to build my own. The first homemade system I built was a stackable system with 2×4’s. I will say that the worms really flourished in this system, they seemed to multiply very fast. Over the next few months, I ended up with trays on it and had pulled worms out of it several times to start 2 more 10-gallon Rubbermaid type systems. Then I built a 3.5 by 5-foot CFT ( continuous flow through) bin and populated it with Red Wigglers from the stackable system mentioned earlier.
As you can see our worm composting beginning started out pretty easy and smooth. We studied and learned fairly quickly and are eager to keep learning. No real problems at this point with the worms and they progressed and multiplied very quickly. With such a smooth beginning we started looking at the idea of raising composting worms to sell. But that is the next part of the story so stay tuned it will be coming soon…
If you have started to consider getting into worm composting take a look at our products page, we would love to help you get going and are here to answer any questions you might have.