Wormery and Backyard Heap Composting 101

A Brief History of Composting

Humans have been composting for thousands of years. In ancient Mesopotamia, Rome, and Greece, there is evidence of composted manure use in agriculture. In North America, there is evidence of Native Americans and settlers using a mix of decaying fish and soil to create compost. Sir Albert Howard is known as the father of modern composting methods, developed in the 1930s and 1940s, which utilise plant matter, straw, and forest waste in addition to manure. This method

is based on a traditional Indian composting system known as the Indore method and helps deliver a wide array of nutrients to the soil. Now compost is used not only to add nutrients to the soil, but also as an amendment to improve soil structure and add beneficial life to soil. Using compost in this way helps to combat the negative effects of over-farming and chemical fertilisation and insecticide use.

Worm Composting History

Traditional vs. Worm Composting

All aerobic (using oxygen) composting requires three things: balanced moisture, monitored temperature, and adequate oxygen. Depending on the composting method, the requirements for these three elements will vary, but attention to each is required. Compost also requires a good ratio of carbon-rich to nitrogen-rich (C:N) material. This helps to maintain a healthy temperature and moisture level, as well as to balance nutrients.

While traditional backyard heaps compost with heat, compost with worms does not heat up in the same way. In addition, traditional compost heaps can take years to fully mature, while composting with worms can create the finished product in a few months. The wormery's used for worm composting are often small and can fit in flats, on porches or balconies, or under the kitchen sink, so that they can be used in urban settings for people without large yards. Here’s a short article on wormery locations: Wormery Location

What’s so great about Worm Composting?

One amazing aspect of composting with worms is that there is no foul odour, so it can be kept anywhere with stable temperatures: inside the house, in a garage, in the basement, outside, you name it! Because of this versatility in location, worm composting can take place year-round and can be stored until ready for application to houseplants, container gardens, or backyard gardens. The compost created by worms a combination of worm castings (worm poop) and humus, is incredibly nutrient-rich and useful as a soil amendment. More about this under “Using Worm Compost”

Compost Year Round

All About Worms

Red Wiggler Composting Worms

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