Ever since I learned about organic gardening, I have always found a way to compost my food scraps no matter where I lived - and I’ve moved a LOT. Even when I didn’t have a garden, I felt it was important to give something back to the Earth, rather than dump all that precious compost in the land-fill where it would go to waste. Compost is such a precious commodity that it is referred to as “faery gold” in ancient fairytales.
We are losing topsoil on U.S. farms at an alarming rate, because of chemical fertilization and failure to add enough organic material back to the soil. Consequently, our commercially grown food is now very depleted in minerals compared to the foods our ancestors ate. I don’t live on a farm, so I don’t have the opportunity to tackle that problem on a large scale, but I can at least give something back to my local environment by composting my food scraps and returning the resulting compost to Earth.
Now I live in an apartment where I don’t have my own garden space. For awhile I saved my compostable materials and added them to the municipal garden-waste bins that are used for large-scale compost operations. And that is a good option for most city dwellers, but I’ve come up with an even better solution. Worm bins!
Worms don’t take up much room. The bins smell like fresh potting soil (which I don’t notice at all unless I open them), and I can effortlessly turn all my kitchen waste into compost - or I should say, the worms turn it into compost. All I ever do is add water when it starts to dry out a bit, and take out some of the wonderful worm compost every few months.
The contents of the bins will grow as you keep adding food scraps, so you will have an endless supply of worm compost to add to your potted plants, vegetable and flower gardens, or to give as gifts to your gardening friends. No gardener in their right mind would ever turn down worm compost. It is one of the best fertilizers they could possibly add to their garden!
If you want to make your own worm bin, just get a big box (I like the Rubbermaid bins with hinged lids). Drill a few 1/2 inch holes in the bottom and along the top of the sides above the fill line. Fill it up with moist peat moss or shredded newspaper (make sure not to use the colored pages, because colored ink can poison the worms). Then put the worms in and add some fruit or vegetable scraps. Keep the “soil” moist, but not soggy and make sure the bins don’t get too hot. That’s about it!
You can order worms online for about $30/lb. from http://www.acmewormfarm.com/worms.html or other sources. They make great pets. Quiet, undemanding, and productive!