Vermicomposting for a successful garden

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GUILFORD COUNTY, N.C. -- Using compost in your garden can help boost nutrients and fight plant diseases, but if you don’t have space to maintain an outdoor pile, an indoor vermicomposting bin may be a good option.

Hanna Smith, an extension agent at the NC Cooperative Extension at Guilford County, says to get started you will need to drill holes into a plastic tub and create bedding for the worms.

You’ll want to combine your raw fruit and vegetable scraps with slightly damp newspaper.

Smith says vermicomposting works best with a certain worm species.

“The worms themselves are actually red wigglers, so these need to be purchased from a specific supply store,” she said.

Smith recommends buying a pound, which should be approximate to a thousand worms.

They reproduce on their own.

They should be kept away from sunlight and in the right temperature. The worms don’t like it too cold.

With all factors coming together, the worms create compost beneficial to a planting environment.

“They've actually done research and done studies on this and they've shown yields in certain plants have been tenfold, so very high nutrient content, just great for the garden,” Smith said.

Smith says if your bin smells try adding more bedding. It could also be a sign that there’s too much food in the bin and the worms aren’t able to break the food down quickly enough.

The type of food scraps you put in your bin makes a difference.

Avoid putting meat, dairy, or citrus fruits that are highly acidic in the vermicomposting bin.

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