Indoor worm compost is a great first nature project for kids even if you don't have access to a garden. Composting helps reduce food waste and makes vermiculture. Plus, kids can observe how valuable worms are to the ecosystem by creating tunnels for water and nutrients to go deeper into the earth.
Step 1: Gather your Materials
2-3 buckets – one with a lid
A drill or sharp knife
Shredded paper, cardboard, dried leaves
Spray bottle with clean water
Red Wiggler worms
Step 2: Prepare the Buckets
The buckets should stack, rather than nest into each other. The bottom bucket will collect excess liquid. You can dilute this compost tea for gardening.
Use a drill or knife to cut holes in the bottom of the upper bucket. The holes should be big enough for the worms to travel up and down easily and for moisture to drip.
Also poke holes in the lid. Enough for good airflow, but not so big that the worms can escape.
Step 3: Create a Bedding
Take strips of paper (not glossy!) and line the bottom of the upper bucket. Mix shredded paper, leaves, and soil to create a few inches of loose bedding. Use a spray bottle to mist water inside. It should be moist enough for the materials to stick together but not so much that it drips. Keep the spray bottle near the compost to moisten when needed to keep the worms hydrated and happy.
Step 4: Add Worms
Place the Red Wigglers into the bucket and put the lid on. Give them a few minutes to burrow. Now your compost is ready to use!
Step 5: Feed the Worms
Most kitchen scraps can be fed to your worms. After settling in, they can eat about half their body weight a day! Keep an equal ratio of wet and dry so they neither drown nor get dehydrated. Dry materials can be biodegradable shredded paper and cardboard (best if they don't have ink), dry leaves, and garlic and onion peels.
Kitchen scraps you can compost:
Raw fruits and veggies
These will harm the worms:
Processed Food (anything with chemicals and preservatives)
The most important part about composting is checking the ratio of wet and dry everyday. When your first bucket gets full, simply get another one, prepare it the same way with holes and loose bedding, and stack it on top. The worms will find their own way up.
It will take around 6-8 weeks for your compost to turn into vermicompost that you can mix into your organic garden or put in your plant pots.
Written by Jan
About the Author
Jan is a travelling yoga teacher and writer who advocates spiritual growth while leading a conscious, earth-centered lifestyle, as close to nature as possible. She currently lives on an island in the Philippines surrounded by tropical jungles and white sand beaches. She and her partner conduct sound meditations and journeys while advocating sustainable and organic gardening practices.