Vermicomposting at home reclaims organic matter that would otherwise take up space wasted in a landfill and converts it to a crumbly, earthly material that benefits houseplants, garden plots and lawns. The magic ingredients in the mix are thousands of red wiggler worms or Eisenia fetida, whose manure or vermicompost contains minerals and nutrients not found in regular compost.
Drill eight to 10¼-inch ventilation holes near the top of the sides of a plastic tote bin. Drill six to eight ¼-inch drainage holes in the bottom. Raise the bin up on bricks and place a spare lid or shallow tray underneath to collect excess liquid.
Fill the bin halfway with newspaper torn into inch-wide strips and soaked in water with the excess water squeezed out. Add a cup of garden soil or compost and crushed eggshells to provide gritty materials to help shred food in their gizzards.
Add several cups of coarsely chopped food scraps to the bedding in a pocket below the surface and cover up again with damp newspaper. You can also add coffee grounds, coffee filters and tea bags unless the bags are made of plasticine. Allow the food to sit for a week so that it becomes covered with bacteria and fungi for the worms to eat.
Tip the red wigglers, best suited to shallow worm bins as they naturally are leaf-litter dwellers, gently out of their container and on to the top of the bedding material. Cover the bin with a lid to allow the worms to distribute themselves within the bin in darkness.
Place more food in the bin about a week later, after first checking if the worms have finished their first set of scraps. Add more scraps in a second pocket not too far from the first.