Category Archives: Vermicomposting

Plastics in the Worm Composting System

After a few months of not adding substantial amounts of material to my Worm Inn (I slow down the feeding to my worms in the warmer months), I decided to take it outside and poke around in the castings.

There was a good six inches of beautiful, crumbly castings…great stuff!

However, there was also several pieces of plastic film…huh?

Then I remembered, a few months ago I placed some waxed paper, an ice cream carton, and a chinese food container (without the metal handle)…and that’s what’s left!  I don’t recommend adding this kind of stuff to a worm composting system, but my curiosity got the better of me.

What’s sad is that a large portion of single use paper products have plastic liners embedded in them to keep the contents from leaking out all over the place.  I can’t imagine that plastic liners are a favorite of worms…so I think going forward I’m going to keep all paper products other than cardboard and (dull) shredded paper out of the system.

Recognize the item in the lower left?  Yep, that’s a tea bag.

It looks like the worms ate the contents, but the bag must be synthetic.  There’s definitely some fully compostable tea bags out there…look for those.  I guess the string isn’t appealing, either!  Good thing I took the staple out.

Worm Inn Fruit Fly Trap

Worm Inn with Fruit Fly Trap

In the warmer months, I have challenges with fruit flies surrounding my Worm Inn from time to time.  The key is to pay attention to the moisture level inside the Worm Inn and cover your deposits with bedding materials to keep them to a minimum.

I decided to try putting my fruit fly trap on top of the Inn instead of on the ground beneath it.  I found that I caught nearly all the fruit flies overnight by having it on top!

If you haven’t made a fruit fly trap before, they’re really quick and cheap to make.

All you need is:

-A jar
-A few drops of dish soap
-1 cup of apple cider vinegar (wine works, too)
-A piece of plastic wrap large enough to cover the opening of the jar

Pour one cup of apple cider vinegar (or wine) into the jar.  Add a few drops of dish soap and put the plastic wrap over the opening of the jar.  Poke a few holes into it so the flies can enter.  They’re attracted to the smell of the vinegar/wine, and will go for it.  The soap makes the surface a bit thicker and the flies are caught.

Happy composting/fly catching!

Worm Inn mods!

Yes, this simple modification to the Worm Inn was worth posting about.

Well, how many Worm Inn owners hang up theirs underneath the steps using a couple screws (with threading exposed)?  Probably next to none of you (if you do, leave a comment!).

I decided to extend the life of the loops (made of a tough fabric) by threading keyrings onto each, shifting the weight to the metal rings.  So if you’re attaching/detaching the Inn often, or it’s hanging one something other than the stand kit, try some keyrings!

Worm Wonderings #1: waxed paper

For fun, I decided to add some materials that would break down eventually in a compost pile to my Worm Inn:

I decided to add a disgusting Jimmy John’s wrapper and also some little blueberry muffin cake things left over from Thanksgiving I forgot about.  Seriously messed up on that one- my mom makes killer food.  Sorry mom!  I’ll let you know if the worms like it.

On a side note, did you know that the majority of “paper” cups you see contain a plastic liner in them?  If your end castings seem to have bits of shiny plastic in them, and you put a paper cup or two in the worm composter, chances are the remnants are what’s left from the cups.  Crazy, right?  More info to come shortly…