Composting, along with proper recycling, is a great way to reduce the amount of trash that is added to our waste stream.
Through our video series, we'll help you to begin composting at home. Special thanks to NYSP2I for their generous support of our Creative Composting educational series.
1. Sorting Your Waste
Properly sorting your refuse into garbage, recycling, or compostable waste bins is the first step in composting.
This first video will help you to determine which items belong in each category.
The students at D'Youville Porter Campus learn about correctly sorting their trash.
Composting with the addition of specialized worms is called vermicomposting. These worms will eat the food scraps and organic matter in your compost bin, and excrete compost castings.
While normal composting will yield useable compost in about 6 - 8 months, worms will produce castings in as little as 2 months!
3. Building a Worm Composting Bin
You can begin vermicomposting at home using a few simple materials that can be acquired at any home goods store.
In addition to a home for the worms, you'll also need a continual supply of food as well as bedding materials.
Bedding is where the worms will live when not feeding. Approved bedding materials include shredded paper, cardboard, or newspaper; coconut coir, peat moss, and dried leaves.
Composting worms can be sourced locally from one of our school gardens. Contact the garden manager for more details.
Click the image for step by step directions to create your own home worm composting bin.
4. Feeding Your Worms
Correctly feeding your worms ensures a healthy compost bin with plentiful worms that will produce the best compost.
Red wiggler composting worms can eat most fruit or vegetable scraps, but there are a few exceptions such as spicy peppers or citrus fruit.
5. All About Red Wigglers
Have you wondered how worms can breathe without any lungs?
Or what a worm cocoon looks like?
Our Red Wigglers video details an up close look at these worms and how they're specially suited to turn organic matter into compost.
6. Vermicomposting Troubleshooting
If you're new to home worm composting, it can be easy to make a few mistakes that result in a wet, foul smelling bin. You might also begin to notice swarms of small flies congregating near your compost bin.
Usually this is the result of over-feeding, or poor drainage and can be simply fixed. Our troubleshooting video will help you to make some changes that will have your worms producing high quality compost again soon.
7. Harvesting Your Compost
After several months, your worms will have transformed your organic waste into castings, or worm compost.
Though, before you can use your compost, you first need to separate the finished product from any uneaten food, debris, or leftover worms.
8. Using Your Compost
Finally your (and the worms) hard work has paid off!
You now have a highly nutrient rich soil amendment that can be used in a multitude of ways.