A year ago I decided that I wanted to try composting. I loved the idea of turning discards into desirable plant food. The problem was that I lived in an apartment, and not at the farm.
The good news is that a worm compost bin can be kept small enough to have inside an apartment!
But isn’t that gross?
I know when most people think of a compost bin, they think of a big pile of rotting leaves and garbage, with flies buzzing around. Fortunately, that is not what it’s like at all. In fact, as long as you don’t overdo the food, a worm compost bin has absolutely no smell and won’t attract bugs.
We compost our fruit and vegetable scraps, tea bags, and some paper and cardboard. The compost worms help to break down the food quickly and turn it into a rich soil for our plants.
You do need compost worms. You can’t go out and dig up earthworms; they need to be a specific kind. I bought red compost worms online and had them shipped, since I couldn’t find anyone in the city who had them.
What I’ve Learned
The compost bin does better if you leave it alone. At first I was overly-attentive and checked the bin frequently, wondering if I was adding enough or too much food for the worms. Now the only thing I do is collect food scraps in a tupperware container in the fridge.
Once every week or two I add the food scraps to the compost bin, and then I cover the food with pieces of wet cardboard or paper egg cartons. I check to make sure the soil is damp. Sometimes I pour out the liquid that has drained to the bottom, and use it to water my plants. It all takes about ten minutes per week.
If you look inside the compost bin, on the left is finished compost, and on the right is compost in progress.
I give the finished compost to my patio plants as a top-dressing over the dirt, and then cover it with mulch. The plants respond to it so well, and I feel better knowing that my home-grown herbs haven’t been treated with a chemical fertilizer.
It’s so easy, I’ll definitely keep doing it.