If you do not have access to an outdoor compost pile, and even if you do, composting food scraps in a worm bin (vermicomposting) is a great way to convert a waste product into a desirable resource. In addition, keeping food scraps out of a landfill, many of which are nearing their maximum capacity, also helps lessen one of the main sources of methane, a generous contributor to global warming. Using worm castings, whether from a bin or outdoor pile, substantially aug-ments the population of beneficial soil dwelling organisms which boost soil vitality, plant immunity, and when used in the proper proportions, can increase growth rate and yield.
Of the several thousand species of earthworms, not all will thrive in a compost bin. Earthworms are either surface dwelling, top-soil-dwelling or deep soil dwelling. Surface dwelling worms specialize in decomposing organic matter, and thus are most likely to thrive in a bin. The most commonly available species to use in temperate regions is the Red Wiggler (Eisenia foetida). These worms adapt well to large numbers in enclosed spaces. They are also voracious feeders, consuming one half to as much as their full body weight per day. They reproduce quickly so you can amass a thriving population quite rapidly. In favorable conditions, red worms will double their population in two to three months.
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