How to Start a Compost Pile Using Crawlers

Overview

Composting is one of the most practical steps that can be done at home to make an impact on the environment. Vermicomposting--utilizing worms to help break down the waste-- can make composting even easier. Vermicast (worm feces) makes a rich fertilizer. A garden site compost pile is going to attract worms on its own, but adding a few of your own can speed the breakdown up significantly.

Step 1

Build your compost pile in a corner of your garden, alternating layers of brown material like leaves, grass clippings, and shredded newspaper and green material like veggie and fruit scraps and clean, crushed eggshells. The newspaper helps give the worms a place to hide while the scraps provide food.

Step 2

Add worms by digging a hole in the center of your pile and dumping them in, packaging and all. Continue to add veggie and fruit scraps to your pile in different areas of the pile.Your worm population will take hold in a few weeks.

Step 3

Water lightly. Compost and worms both need a moist environment to thrive.

Step 4

Cover your pile with a tarp.The tarp will protect your pile from scavenger animals like skunks and raccoons, protect it from the elements, and encourage your worms to come to the surface.

Step 5

Toss monthly with a garden fork, turning the ingredients to promote better decomposition. When purposely using worms in composting, you do not want the heat generated by the nitrogen breakdown in grass clippings in the middle of the pile to drive the worms out. Allow grass to dry before adding.

Step 6

When using your compost, pick worms out and return to your pile after spreading. The sunlight will force them to the surface.

Tips and Warnings

  • Worms in an open garden compost pile may stray from your pile into the garden or yard. They are beneficial there as well, so it's your preference whether to track them down and return them or keep adding new ones.

Things You'll Need

  • Compost pile
  • Red wiggler worms (purchased online or through a garden center)
  • Garden fork
  • Tarp

References

  • Worms and the Garden Compost Pile
  • Worm Composting Basics

Who Can Help

  • How to Set Up a Worm Composting System
Keywords: worms, compost, vermicast

About this Author

Bobbi Keffer attended Kent State University, studying education but soon found her true love to be in the garden. She prides herself on her frugal skills, re-using, recycling, and re-inventing her whimsical style in her home and garden.