The Advantages of Worm Composting

Worms aren't just for catching fish or scaring your sister. Red wriggler worms, Lumbricus rubellus, can convert coffee grounds, banana peels, eggshells and other food waste into an odorless black soil conditioner you can spread on the lawn, feed to houseplants or use to mulch flowerbeds. You can dig worms from manure piles at stables, purchase red worms from mail order supply houses or buy them by the pound from your local bait shop.

Ideal for Indoors

Worm composting, also known as vermiculture, is ideal for apartment or condo dwellers, for those who live in areas where outdoor compost heaps are prohibited and for areas of the country where cold winters make outdoor compost piles dormant for several months a year. You can keep a worm bin under the kitchen sink, in the basement or in the garage. A properly maintained vermiculture bin doesn't smell or draw pests.


Worm composting is low tech. All you need is a plastic tub, shredded newspaper, some kitchen scraps and worms. Standard earthworms won't work; you need red worms, also known as manure worms. These worms will happily live in the shredded newspaper, busily converting your kitchen scraps to rich compost.

Low Maintenance

Once your worm bin is established you don't need to turn it, water it or fuss with it. Feed the worms regularly, add fresh shredded newspaper as the old bedding settles and clean out the bin once or twice a year.


Worm composting converts your kitchen waste to something useful instead of filling your trash can and, ultimately, the landfill. You can also add shredded newspaper or cardboard to your worm bin, keeping these materials out of the landfill as well.

Rich Compost

The compost created by worms is a nutrient-rich amendment for houseplants and vegetable and flower gardens. It's better than potting soil you could buy, and it's absolutely free. And red worms create this compost quickly, reducing a pile of food scraps to compost in as little as 30 days.

Keywords: worm composting, red wriggler worms, vermiculture

About this Author

Cynthia Myers is the author of numerous novels and her nonfiction work has appeared in publications ranging from "Historic Traveler" to "Texas Highways" to "Medical Practice Management." She has a degree in economics from Sam Houston State University. Before turning to freelancing full-time, Myers worked as a newspaper reporter, travel agent and medical clinic manager.