We started a new project recently – a worm composting box! (also called vermicompost). I’ve been wanting to do this for awhile, but just haven’t had a chance to get it going. I thought I’d have to spend quite a bit of money getting it started by buying a kit, but after reading some websites and watching some youtube videos I figured out I could do it just as easily for MUCH less! I also wasn’t sure where to start since it’s not as common here in Malaysia.
The system I am using has two layers. The top layer is where the worms live and eat, and it has tiny holes in the bottom so that any liquid can drip down to the bottom layer. I used two containers that fit into eachother but the top one was not as deep as the bottom one. So I think it’s perfect!
Here we are setting up our box:
In the top box we put some dried up leaves, some shredded newspaper, and some regular potting soil. Many sources say you don’t really need the potting soil, just some newspaper or something, but I thought the worms would be more comfortable with a bit of dirt to start with.
Finding worms has proven to be a bit difficult here in Malaysia. There ARE a couple places where you can buy actual composting worms from, but it takes time for them to harvest and then you have to drive to go collect them. Plus they tend to be pretty expensive. Apparently one of the local worms here is also one that is used often for composting – perionyx excavatus (PA), also called the Malaysian Blue worm. So I thought to start I’d try just getting some local worms from a pet shop and see if they work. Now, I do NOT know if these are actually PA worms or not. I bought a bag of 50 worms to start, just to see if they survive and if they seem to eat the compost. It’s been about a week and a half now and I’m still not sure. The worms are definitely still alive, but I’m not 100% sure that they are eating the food scraps. But it can take a couple weeks after setting up a bin before worms really settle in, so I’ll give it some more time. If these worms don’t end up being the right ones I’ll see what they have at the tackle shop. I’ve read that African nightcrawlers work well for composting as well.
Svara is very keen on the worm bin. She wants to check it every day and wants to hold the worms. She is not squeamish about pulling the worms out of the dirt or holding them. But they are pretty wiggly, so sometimes she’ll yelp and drop a worm if it was doing a lot of jumping in her hand.
As you can see, we are having fun with this project! I can’t wait to have some worm compost to add to our gardening efforts here at our new house. We are growing herbs, spinach, and a few other things.