Worm composting is a way to generate worm castings. Why do you want to add worm castings to your tomatoes? Because they organically feed both the plants and the soil.
What Exactly is Worm Composting?
Worm composting is also known as vermicomposting, it’s a somewhat unusual way to recycle your kitchen scraps.
Basically, the worms eat the scraps, and after they have digested it, excrete the “leftovers”. These leftovers are called castings and they are a superb soil conditioner and plant fertilizer. Worms are amazing; they can eat almost their own body weight a day. Naturally you won’t have just a few worms; 500 is a good number to start with. More if you generate a lot of kitchen scraps every day.
Where Can You Vermicompost?
Worm composting can be done anywhere where the temperature is moderate and the bin isn’t in direct sunlight (in warm climates). You don’t want to cook your worms!
The best temperature for your hard-working worms is between 55 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit. You don’t want the bin temperature to go below 50 or over 88 degrees Fahrenheit. This may mean you need to put the bin inside your home in a spare corner. Not to worry, once your worms have settled in and started munching, there is no smell, providing you haven’t overloaded the tray with scraps.
Getting Started with Worm Composting
To get started with worm composting, you’ll need some trays, bedding and (naturally) worms. Red wrigglers are the best worms for vermicomposting. To get some of these hard-working worms, you can try a local bait shop. No bait shop nearby? You can order them online, to be shipped to you.
Check with a gardening center to see if they have worm composting trays. If they don’t, you can easily order them online. You’ll want at least a 3-tray system, with 4 or 5 trays even better.
The worm bedding can be anything organic, like coir, shredded newspaper (black and white only; no color printing), sawdust, hay, dried leaves — anything to mimic the worm’s natural environment. The bedding should be very slightly moist, but not soggy or wet.
Add the kitchen scraps (shredded or chopped a bit so they are easier for the worms to eat) and let the worms have at it!
You might have an organic garden shop near to you that carries worm composting supplies; if you do — great! Get your trays, worms and bedding and you’re all set.
If you don’t have anywhere locally to get your worms or supplies, check out some online worm composting kits.
Why Do Worm Composting?
Why vermicompost? Because your plants love worm castings! I’m not sure what about the castings make the tomato plants so happy, but it does. But if you can’t (or don’t want to) do any worm composting, you can buy some worm castings. If you can’t find the castings locally, here’s where I get mine.
Here’s to your composting success, however you get your castings!