Worms: Your Garden’s Best Friend

Perhaps you have already nailed the compost challenge in our previous post, or maybe your property is not the best space for an outdoor compost space at this time. Regardless, a worm bin is a recommended addition to any garden or landscape. Worms are very efficient when it comes to decomposing your unwanted produce scraps, and they make the best soil in the world. Your garden will never be the same!

The worms thriving in this photo above are living creatures. They have similar basic needs as humans: food, water, shelter, and air.

Let’s make a worm bin!

  1. Begin by drilling small (¼ inch) holes in the sides of one storage tote, and drilling same sized holes in the bottom and sides of another storage tote. The storage tote with no holes in the bottom will be your bottom layer. The other tote with holes in the bottom and sides will nestle right inside the first one, just like the photo. These drilled holes mean that food, water and air can move freely between the bins.
  2. Once your bins are drilled with holes and stacked on top of each other, put in a layer about ⅓ full of shredded newspaper and leaves. Spritz a bit of water on this layer; it should feel about as wet as a wrung-out sponge.
  3. Sprinkle a layer of “grit,” which can be sand, eggshells, or soil from your garden. This adds essential digestive aid for the worms, fungi and bacteria.
  4. Time to add the worms! Two places to order them from are Uncle Jim’s Worm Farm, or Garden Outside the Box. One bag of worms contains about 250 worms, and is usually sufficient to get started.
  5. Add in a handful of kitchen scraps (parts of produce you don’t want to eat, or that have gotten too old for you to eat). You can drop these scraps in 1-2 times per week, and make sure to put them in a new part of the bin every time.
  6. Put another layer of that same shredded newspaper, or cardboard boxes and leaves, on top, with a final spritz of water. Cover your creation with a lid that has holes in it, and store in an environment that is between 50 and 75 degrees. Stand back and watch your worm friends do their magic.

Expert tip: Avoid putting citrus material in your worm bin because it is too acidic. It is fine to occasionally add coffee grounds; aim for about a cup of grounds per week. Life is better with a little coffee, and the worms agree!

You can even go local as you shop for worms! Garden Outside the Box’s worms are available at the Royal Oak Farmers Market. They also offer classes on urban gardening.

Until next thyme,
My Thyme Gardens

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