Worm Bin: How Composting With Worms Also Works At Home

Plants need fertilizer regularly, but not all plant lovers have their own garden or want to buy fertilizer. A worm bin for the home is a practical solution for your own compost.

Eine Wurmkiste mit zwei Kammer und offenem Deckel. Davor eine Schaufel, Töpfe mit Erde und eine Pflanze.

Cooking, especially when using home-grown fruits and vegetables, produces waste. Peel residues and other non-usable plant parts then end up in the organic waste and are thus thrown away. This does not have to be the case: Instead of disposing of the leftovers, gardening enthusiasts can throw them on the compost. Even better: a worm bin or worm farm. Because the worms inside produce even better and more concentrated humus. Depending on the box and conditions, this can be indoors or outdoors.

Worm box: This is how compost with worms works

Recycling kitchen waste and thereby also obtaining valuable plant fertilizer is possible with worms. We are not talking about normal earthworms, but compost worms. A compost worm (Eisenia fetida), also known as a stink worm or dung worm, is more mobile than a normal earthworm and needs warmer temperatures than its fellow worms. This worm therefore finds ideal conditions and a suitable food supply in compost.

In order to be able to place compost in a space-saving way in one’s own four walls or in a protected place in the garden, so-called worm boxes have been developed. These are closed, odorless boxes in which the beneficial organisms process kitchen waste into so-called “worm tea” and humus. The worm is supported by bacteria, other soil organisms and fungi, according to Mitteldeutscher Rundfunk (MDR). But worms also want to be fed and need certain conditions to feel comfortable. So worm bins can definitely take some work.

Worm box: Here’s what you need to consider when purchasing, locating and caring for them.
Basically, there are two types of worm boxes: those that should be placed outdoors and those that are allowed indoors. For both types, there are special suppliers who deliver a complete package including worms. However, the boxes can also be built yourself with a little knowledge and skill.

We advise plastic or wood and two chambers for a DIY worm bin. These can either be arranged one above the other as a tower or side by side. A lid is also important, because worms are shy of light. Holes in the partition also ensure that the animals can move between the containers. Garden enthusiasts can either collect the worms from neighbors or buy them.

Future worm keepers should also find out in advance how to fill a worm bin. After all, the animals need regular food and a certain environment to feel comfortable. The worms like it moist, but the water must also be able to drain away.

Ready-made worm boxes from various suppliers offer a simple solution, usually with instructions and all the necessary materials for filling. Nature lovers also get the right worms, because in a worm box – depending on the dimensions of the box – about 500 animals. This type of worm box may also be placed in the apartment and does not stink. However, there may be occasional problems with insect infestation.

Suitable for filling a worm box are, for example:

  • Plant residues (fruit residues, raw vegetable residues and peels)
  • Coffee grounds, tea (loose)
  • (filter) paper
  • Flower remains
  • Egg shells

But not everything may be fed, be sure to check with the manufacturer or a professional beforehand. There are also a number of accessories for ready-made boxes, including special worm food, activated carbon filters or heating rods.

Worm box: This is worm humus and worm tea, and here’s how to use it

The industrious worms eat plant debris and produce worm humus and worm tea in the process. For the humus, there are different ways to extract it, depending on the model of the box. The worm soil (worm humus) contains many minerals, but above all microorganisms and enzymes. This makes worm humus suitable and helpful for depleted, stressed soils. Worm humus also causes the soil to retain water better. You can use it for houseplants as well as in the garden.

And then there is worm tea, which is obtained by a tap from the box. The liquid is produced naturally when bacteria and worms decompose organic waste. Worm tea is also an ideal fertilizer and strengthens plant growth. But be careful: not every (indoor) plant needs a lot of nutrients. If you overfertilize your plants, they can be damaged. (Bokashi: What the bucket can do and how it works)

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