Beginner Apartment Worm Composting Kits
Estimated reading time: 10 minutes
Here is your introduction to beginner apartment worm composting kits. I’ve put together a do-it-yourself option for all of you crafty people. I have also included vermicomposting kit you can easily purchase.
After reading this article, you will have a good sense of what path is best for you and your skill level. You will learn how to get your worms and find bedding to make a comfy new home for your new worms.
Let’s jump into the two different methods so you can start your vermicomposting journey today!
About Bedding and Worms
Regardless of which method you choose, you will have to decide what to use for bedding and how many worms you’ll need to get started. First, let’s dive into some bedding options you can find or purchase. Then, I’ll discuss the number of worms necessary to start your bin.
When it comes to bedding you can choose a lot of different options. Overall what you’re looking to do is recreate the compost worms’ natural environment. Composting worms prefer to live in the top 6 inches of soil and more often in the top layer of leaf litter.
Your goal is to create a moist environment that has plenty of air. Red worms breathe through their skin and a dense, overly wet, bin can lead to disaster.
You want to use items like shredded and moistened natural cardboard or newspaper in your beginner apartment worm composting kit. If you have access to dry leaves, away from pesticides and car exhaust, you can add them as well.
However, you only want to add 30% leaves to the paper. This is because your bin can go anaerobic, heat up, and kill your worms.
Other items you could use besides cardboard include coconut coir, newspaper, cardboard egg cartons, unbleached or unglossy circulars, all act as great bedding.
Plus, you are eliminating more waste from going to the landfill. A win-win!
How to prepare your bedding
If you have access to rainwater, you will want to use that to dampen your bedding. Otherwise, just use purified water or tap water that has sat out for 24 hours to let the chlorine dissipate.
To prepare your bedding, soak it in the rainwater and then wring it out. The final consistency should be close to that of a damp, well-wrung sponge. Another analogy would be the wetness of well spun-out laundry before transferring it to the dryer.
After you wring out the bedding, add it to your bin and fluff it up so it isn’t a dense pile of bedding.
Your goal as you maintain the bin is to keep it from getting too dry or too wet. Keep a spray bottle of water on hand if it’s too dry. If it starts to look too wet, simply leave the lid open to allow excess moisture to evaporate.
When it comes to worms, you can either dig or buy. If you want to go the absolutely free route, you can simply check the leaf litter in your own backyard or local park.
Simply dig within the first 6 layers of soil for worms that are small and reddish in hue.
Worm Reproduction Tips!
It doesn’t matter how many worms you start with; their numbers will eventually grow.
Worms reproduce by making cacoons.
On average, it takes roughly 90 days for a cacoon to hatch. When they do, three to six worms can emerge.
These little thread-like worms can reach maturity within 90 days and produce their own cocoons.
Within a year, you can see your worm population triple at least two times over.
If you are looking to purchase your worms, you can look call your local bait and tackle shop, farm, and garden store for compost worms. If you are unsuccessful at finding worms at a local brick-and-mortar store, you can always check online.
Buy worms In your state
Another online resource you can check online resources such as social media marketplaces, craigslist, and Reddit message boards for small sellers in your own community. Otherwise, you can always purchase from sellers like Uncle Jim’s Worm Farm or other national and international sellers.
How Many Worms to Purchase
Since many of you are reading this are beginners, I advocate for buying about 250 to 500 worms to start. More experienced vermicomposters may start their bin with 1000 or 2000+ worms.
The reason I advocate for less In your early days, you may make some mistakes that could kill all the worms in your bin. Once you get the hang of maintenance, you can purchase more worms. You can also wait for your worms to naturally reproduce to increase the population of the bin.
Apartment Worm Composting Kits
Below you’ll find both a free/ DIY method as well as common worm bins for purchase. I’ll outline some of the benefits of each method and who each method may work best. Once you get your worms, simply add a small amount of food along with the bedding for them to make their home.
Free Beginner Apartment Worm Composting Kit
If you don’t have a lot of money or love a good craft project, it is easy to get started in worm composting. Many people have old, unused storage containers or plastic kitty litter pales laying around the house.
These unused bins can turn into an apartment composting machine.
I’ve included a video below that covers the basics of creating your own bin from common household items. In the video, the creator uses a large storage tub. You could also use smaller-sized tubs and follow the same instructions that are included in the video below.
If you do not have a big blue tub like theirs, you can use a host of different items as your bin. I’ve seen people use old restaurant bus bins, old plastic gallon ice cream containers, restaurant size condiment containers, and more.
You’re only limited to your imagination and ingenuity!
Benefits of this method
This method is great for those who are people who are price challenged, environmentally conscious, or those who love to craft. Making your own worm composting bin is quite easy. It just takes time to clean up an old bin, drill holes for both aerations and excess liquid.
You will need a drill or awl to make the holes. If you want to go with this method, be sure to have a few tools on hand to make the process easy.
Worm bin construction and worm composting are great kid-friendly activities. Creating and maintaining a bin can teach children about food waste, composting, and gardening.
Making your own bin adds that extra layer of involvement in the process.
Issues you may encounter
The two issues many people run into with this method are imperfect design and difficulty at harvest time. The imperfect design can cause excess moisture in one side of the bin and not the other. You may need to make adjustments in the future to increase the efficiency of the bin.
Next, when harvest time comes around, you may have greater difficulty than a flow-through bin. You can feed for several weeks on one side of the bin to encourage worms to one side. However, you will still spend extra time picking out worms and cocoons while sifting your compost.
Overall, if you love a DIY project and don’t mind a little extra effort, this is a great way to get started today for free.
$150 Worm Composting Kits
If you don’t have the time, energy, or interest in making your own apartment worm composting bin, you can always purchase one. One of the most popular styles of compost bins for purchase is what is called a flow-through bin. These types of bins tend to have a smaller footprint on your floor but are often taller.
Worm Factory 360
Some bins, like the Hot Frog model, provide models that are both cute and functional. Other bins like the Worm Factory 360 focus on functionality and efficiency, over the look and feel.
In the beginning, you will just place your worms, bedding, and food all on the first tray. Over time you will need to add an additional tray and will continue feeding on the new tray. Each tray has plenty of holes to allow the worms to climb to the food and for moisture to find its way to the bottom.
Both are available from Uncle Jim’s worm farm. You can find our affiliate link here, and any sales will support the website!
Benefits of this method
These premade worm composting kits are great for those who want to get started without all the work. If you have the money and want a certain look, feel, or functionality, these are great options. Many premade bins have spouts to easily drain excess liquid and other features to help maintain your bin.
With these manufactured bins you can read reviews and even find a community of people who are using the same model.
Issues you may encounter
Although there are many benefits to using these premade worm composting kits one of the downsides is the cost, and difficulty modifying.
If you want to increase the capacity of your bin you will need to purchase extra trays. Both Hotfrog and the Worm Factory 360 have extra layers you can purchase. Before you purchase, I encourage you to check if there are ways to buy extra parts and trays. This will save you a big headache down the road if you need to perform maintenance to the bin.
Premade bins are also more difficult to modify if you need to make a change. Most commonly people want to add more airflow to reduce moisture from the food decomposing. While the spigot can be helpful, some want to keep it at the right moisture level without having to drain excess liquid.
Overall these issues are minor and with a little research, you can avoid many issues.
Beginner Apartment Worm Composting Kit Summary
There you have it, how to get your bedding, worms, and worm composting kit. Once your worms arrive you need to provide a little food and let them get established in their new home.
Within a month or so you will be able to increase feedings. Slowly you’ll see more paper products and food scraps getting turned into nutrient-rich compost for house plants and more.
If you have any questions about today’s article or getting started with vermicomposting – Leave your questions in the comments below!
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