Worm castings are a rich, organic compost made from the digestive waste (AKA poop) of worms. Worms love to spend all day/every day feasting on decaying organic matter and pooping out what any gardener will tell you is the best organic fertilizer for nurturing gardens. It’s so great that it is often referred to as “black gold” and typically sells for around $5 a pound.
Luckily, worm composting is one of the easiest methods of composting and can be done virtually anywhere, even tiny apartments. All you need are worms, food scraps, a bedding of cardboard or newspaper, and something to put it all in. There are numerous worm composting systems for sale out there, but it is almost equally easy (and way cheaper) to create your own. (See below for links to instructions on starting a worm bin)
I recently started my own worm composting bin in my tiny apartment, and I have been pleasantly surprised with the results. I ordered my worms online through Amazon, which means they were a bit traumatized when they arrived at my door. But they bounced back within a few days and seemed to be enjoying their new home. I have had the bin going for about 2 months now and have already managed to harvest some castings to fertilize my indoor seed starts.
Most importantly, I have had no issue with odors or pests! I can see a few fruit flies inside the bin, but I have not had any venture into the house. And despite being filled with rotting vegetables, the bin just smells…earthy. I have been a bit disappointed with how little food I am managing to compost. My worms can only handle about a pound of scraps a week, so I am still throwing away lots of food scraps. But I have steadily been able to add more and more food in just a month, so I anticipate I will be able to add more with time.
Overall, worm composting is a great way to create a rich, organic fertilizer for your garden and recycle kitchen scraps. In a community garden, a large bin system could be built for the community to contribute to, or individuals could make small bins in their own homes and use the castings for their community garden plot. Either way, worm composting can contribute to the sustainability and health of your community garden.
Worm Composting Resources:
Mother Earth News: Make your own worm bin
Rubbermaid worm bin instructions