INDOOR COMPOSTING

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Worms are a garden's best friend. Here are some resources to help you introduce VERMICULTURE, an important life-cycle lesson, to your students in a fun way!

Worms and Worm Bins - A guide from Earthworks on how to start and maintain a worm bin.
Vermiculture Activities - A large handbook of many worm-related activities. Some activities are linked individually below.
Decomposition and Decomposers - Students learn about decomposition and the roll of decomposers.
Red Worm Observation - Students draw a picture of a worm and label its parts.
What Does Your Worm Prefer? - Students answer a few questions about worms based on their observations.

TIP: If you plan on doing a worm bin in your classroom, save your phone books! When shredded, they make the perfect cozy bed (and supplemental snack) for your worms.

Starting a Worm Bin: The Feeding and Caring of Worms
Did you know worms can eat half their weight in food scraps each day?
Get started with indoor composting by using worms to eat food scraps. Vermicomposting makes it easy to recycle your food waste and make quick compost to use in your vegetable garden.

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Worm Bin Basics
Use the redworm Eisenia fetida (red wiggler), not the commonly found “earthworm” from your garden. Redworms are readily available from a friend’s compost pile, a local fish bait supplier (you’ll need to be specific about the species you need), or online. SLUG can also provide worms for your bin.

Setting Up the Worm Bin
Use the plastic bin provided by the SLUG program. Worm bedding, water, and food scraps are all you’ll need to add. Place the worm bin where the temperatures will range from 50 – 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Keep it away from heat sources (radiators) and cold drafts (doors and windows). A cool dark spot is optimal.

Worm Bedding
Worm bedding helps keep the worms moist and allows food scraps to be buried to prevent odors. Shredded black and white newspaper works well for “grit” to help the worms digest and is an additional way to recycle. You can also add coir bricks—ground up coconut husks (provided by SLUG).

Moisture
Worms need moisture, not a flood. Worms are 75-90 percent water. Because they breathe through their skin, it is important that the worms stay moist. After shredding the bedding, add water and check for moisture: squeezing a handful of bedding should produce a few drops of water. If it is too wet, add more dry bedding.

Worms Like to Eat:
Potato peels
Green peppers
Egg shells
Coffee grounds (is there a coffee shop nearby see if they will give you used grounds for your bin)
Tea bags
Vegetable and plant scraps

Worms DON'T Like to Eat:
Dairy of any kind
Meat of any kind
Citrus fruit of any kind
Pineapple
NOTE: Putting these in your worm bin will attract insects and cause your bin to stink!

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