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5 Reasons you need a Vermi-composter in your Life!

Friendly little wigglers, earthy soil and a fun way to introduce kids to composting - what's not to love?

About a year ago, I was given a Hot Frog Living Composter as a gift for Christmas. I had been thinking about trying one as an additional to our composting system on the farm for some time, and was really excited to get started. I first learned about this style of vermi-composter when I stumbled across Cathy's Crawly Composters (as a newbie farmer, you find yourself searching for all manner of strange things online; this not being the weirdest!) My husband and I attended the Guelph Organic conference, and got to meet Cathy herself, and pick ourselves up some red wiggler worms (they are hands down the best in terms of efficient compost abilities). I followed the instructions with the Hot Frog kit and got to work setting things up. Since that time, I've regularly checked in on my little friends, observed their life cycles and turned my fruit and veggie scraps into black gold!

Did I have some concerns before setting up my worm farm? Sure!

Would this thing SMELL? I had it in my kitchen - the LAST thing I wanted, was to have the offensive odour of rotting food where our family was eating our meals. I would tend to think this might be someone's main concern, when thinking about adding a composting system to their home.

Would it take a lot of work to manage? I work full-time, manage a farm and have two growing kids - time is precious! I have a lot on the go, and didn't want to add something else that would be a big burden.

What the heck do worms need to live, anyway? I'm no vet, but I'm acutely aware that all living creatures need specific conditions to live healthy, and productive lives.

I'm here to tell you, my fears were all completely unfounded. One year on, and my little worm world is thriving! My mini worm farm is easy to manage, does NOT smell, and is simple to care for. Need more convincing? Read on!

Here are 5 reasons why you should have a vermi-composter in your home!

1. It's super EASY to manage.

Once in a while, I'll pop open the lid on my composter, and check in the worms. If the vast majority of food has disappeared, I add a little more. Their favourites include banana peels, pepper cores and carrot peels. If they've got plenty of food already, I might toss in some dampened newspaper shreds, or pieces of egg carton to serve as bedding. That's about it! Easy peasy. If things DO happen to go wrong, there are lots of resources and forums on the internet to help you out. Books have been written on vermicomposting as well. Reach out, and find yourself some wormy experts to aid you with your specific dilemma!

2. It's a great way to use up food scraps. Apple peels, soggy lettuce, squishy strawberries - worms love 'em all!

3. It's a fantastic teaching tool for kids!

Teaching children that there is life in every speck of soil on the planet, is a great way to help them build a relationship with that soil. Our kids have loved peeking in and spotting eggs, and tiny immature worms wriggling through the soil. These impossibly tiny, translucent babies always elicit a series of 'awwwwww's!

4. The BEST, FREE compost all year.

There's a reason that worm castings have earned the nickname 'black gold'. Rich, well-balanced and nutrient-dense, worm castings take the best elements in leftover scraps and turn them into usable nutrients that support plant life. It's like superfood for your superfoods! No waiting for the spring thaw in order to collect compost for those seeds you want to start for this year's garden. Houseplant need a little soil top up? No problem! Scoop out some rich, earthy goodness and your plants will thank you. Another sweet by-product is the liquid fertilizer collected underneath the unit. As liquid forms, it is filtered down and collected in a container underneath the unit. This liquid is like turbo-fertilizer for your plants and seedlings. I like to use it once in a while as a booster for my garden seedlings, or even as a mid-winter pick-me-up for my houseplants.

A scoopful of dark soil on a spoon, with a vermicomposter in the background.
Check out that chocolate cake! OK it's not REALLY chocolate, but it's nearly as rich! This soil is alive with millions of microbes and nutrients that will help plants grow strong and resilient.

5. The feeling you're doing something great!

The amount of fruit and veggie scraps you'll save from filling up your garbage can be amazing. Although worms won't eat everything you have leftover from your kitchen, they do eat a surprising amount! Saving food scraps from the landfill is always a good feeling, and the extra bonus of receiving a very useful by-product of the process makes it very rewarding. Organic soil mix is something we are always needing on the farm, and this is an awesome way to turn what was going to be waste, into something very valuable.

Overall, my experience has been super positive. There is zero smell, the worms are easy to look after, and they do a great job. The Hot Frog Living Composter looks great in the kitchen, and half the time I honestly forget it's there! It also doubles as an extra seat if you need it.

If you're looking for a low-input way to reduce your household waste, I strongly suggest you consider adding a vermi-composter to your home. There are many different styles available on the market, or why not try building one yourself? They are very simple to make and use - worms can be ordered online, or harvested from someone else who has a worm farm on the go.

If you want to learn more about vermicomposting, I suggest you start here: https://www.cathyscomposters.com/

Worms on food scraps in a compost bin,
Worms chowing down on one of their favourite snacks - banana peel! Look at all of those tiny babies - the presence of so many little ones tells me the worms' needs are being met.

Learn more about the Hot Frog Living Composter here: https://www.arbico-organics.com/product/hot-frog-living-composter/composting-supplies

Good luck, and happy composting!

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