by Connie Oswald Stofko
Learn how to start composting indoors with red wriggler worms in a workshop at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 30 at Reinstein Woods Nature Preserve & Environmental Education Center, 93 Honorine Drive, Depew.
The workshop is for both children and adults.
You can get a starter kit, which includes worms. The kits are $4 for the public or $2 for Friends of Reinstein members.
Please make reservations so they know how many starter kits to have on hand. To register, call 683-5959.
The kit is a small plastic box, the size of a shoe box, with holes in the lid. It contains bedding, food and the worms.
Ginger Wszalek, environmental educator at Reinstein Woods, known as “the worm lady,” will be leading the workshop. She’ll give you all you need to know to get started, and she offers some additional tips here:
- Worms like coffee grounds; the caffeine gets them going. Let the coffee grounds dry before adding them to your worm bin or your bedding may get too wet and your bin will smell.
- You can add baked goods, such as bread, to your worm bin. Let the bread dry, then crumble it. Don’t add too much and don’t let it get too wet or it will get moldy.
- Wszalek offered a simple tip to solve a problem I ran into when I tried worm composting a couple years ago. I took a storage tote and drilled holes in the bottom, then drilled holes in the lid. I set that tote inside another tote the same size without holes. The second tote catches the “compost tea,” the excess liquid from the bin. Unfortunately, I had the bin outside and didn’t realize the rain would enter through the small air holes in the lid. There wasn’t enough drainage in the bin and most of the worms drowned. Wszalek suggests setting a couple of bricks inside the solid tote, then setting the tote with the holes on top of the bricks. That will ensure that there is enough room for liquid to drain off.
- When using compost tea to fertilize your plants, dilute it so that you don’t burn your plants. Use 1 part compost tea to 2 or 3 parts water.
- If you want to get fancy, you can create a worm bin using totes like I described above. Instead of drilling holes in the lid, cut out a rectangle and add one of those registers that you have over a heating vent in the floor. You can open and close the register to adjust the air flow.
- If you’re going to keep your worm bin in your house, you may want to keep the number of critters low. One way to do this is to avoid bringing in bugs from your yard. Don’t use leaf litter, twigs or tomatoes that went bad. Just use food scraps that had been washed first.