How To Start a Vermicompost

by | May 30, 2017 | Aggie Life, Environment, Spring/Summer 2017

Transform your food waste into premium compost — using a bucket of worms? Vermicomposting — employing worms to break down food scraps — can provide top-notch fertilizer and help reduce landfill waste. “Starting your own vermicompost is easy,” said Mia Kawamoto, UC Davis student and compost piles director at the UC Davis EcoHub. “It’s also great if you don’t have a lot of space.”

  1. Put a wide bucket in a warm, damp place. “I keep my bucket under the kitchen sink,” said Kawamoto.
  2. Drill ventilation holes into the bucket and fill with 6 inches of moist, shredded newspaper. “Keep it fluffy so air can flow through,” suggested Kawamoto.
  3. Add dirt or eggshells. “The worms don’t have teeth,” said Kawamoto. “They need to eat these to help their bodies break apart the [food] scraps.”
  4. Spread red wiggler worms — available at most fish and game stores.
  5. Add fruit and veggie scraps before covering with another 3 to 6 inches of newspaper.
  6. Add food scraps continually. The UC Davis EcoHub suggests feeding the worms on one side of the bucket for a month at a time to make harvesting easier. The worms will feast on the side with food, leaving behind their castings — the fertilizer — on the empty side for you to gather.
  7. Harvest the worm castings monthly and change the newspaper every few months or when the volume has decreased.