Vermicomposting Vs. Bin Composting

Overview

When composting, gardeners use specific tools and techniques to help decompose organic matter to create a nutrient-rich soil amendment. Vermicomposting and bin composting are two common composting methods that have different materials, time frames and space requirements.

The Facts

Vermicomposting uses worms to break down kitchen waste and food scraps such as fruit and vegetable peelings into compost; bin composting, on the other hand, uses stationary or rotating bins to break down yard or garden waste, such as grass clippings and leaves, as well as kitchen scraps.

Time Frame

Bin composting can take from three weeks to two years for the organic material to break down completely, depending upon the size of your bin and whether or not you choose to rotate it. Vermicomposting usually takes about two and a half months, according to Canada's Office of Urban Agriculture.

Benefits

Benefits of vermicomposting include smaller space requirements; you need to allow only about 1 square foot of space for every weekly pound of kitchen waste you produce, according to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. MercerGov.org states that traditional bin composting usually uses containers that minimally hold ½ cubic yard of waste.

Drawbacks

Both vermicomposting and bin composting typically require you to invest time regularly in maintaining your compost (either by adding compost materials or by turning and mixing your materials frequently), which can be a problem if you have a particularly busy schedule or travel frequently.

Considerations

Determine the amount and type of waste or scraps that you want to use for your compost before deciding on a compost method. For instance, if you have no yard and most of your waste is kitchen scraps, then vermicomposting is a better option for you than bin composting.

References

  • Canada's Office of Urban Agriculture: Composting with Red Wiggler Worms
  • Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources: Composting with Worms
  • MercerGov.Org: How to Choose a Compost Bin
Keywords: vermicomposting, bin composting, composting with worms

About this Author

Regan Hennessy has been writing professionally for 11 years. A freelance copywriter and certified teacher, Hennessy specializes in the areas of parenting, health, education, agriculture and personal finance. During her time with Demand Studios, Hennessy has produced content for Ehow, Answerbag and Travels. Hennessy graduated from Lycoming College with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English.