Dig into vermicomposting, with Extension

UF/IFAS Extension Sarasota County held its first “Learn to Build a Worm Bin” workshop as part of Sarasota County strategic plan initiative in 2022. At the workshop, participants had the opportunity to build a worm bin that they could take home to begin composting with. Not only was it a fun activity, but participants had the opportunity to learn about food waste and how vermicomposting can redirect food scraps from landfills.

In landfills, food waste breaks down in anaerobic conditions (lack of air) which produces methane gas which is a powerful greenhouse gas contributing to climate impacts.  We can reduce the amount of methane gas produced by managing our food waste with vermicomposting at home.

Vermicomposting is the breakdown of organic material by earthworms in combination with organic materials into a stable product used as a soil amendment and source of plant nutrients. This means that worms can help eat your food scraps and will create nutrient rich soil that you can use in your garden. This method of dealing with your excess food can be done from your home, easy to do, and healthier for the environment.

We plan to host “Learn to Build a Worm Bin” workshops every other month in 2023, with tickets set at $20. Sign up here for our next workshop, at Shamrock Park in Venice.

Commonly asked questions about vermicomposting

What can you feed your worms?

Worms can eat most of your food scraps that you produce. Including fruits, vegetables, coffee grounds, rinsed eggshells, plain grains, and bread. Things to avoid include meat, dairy, oil, seasonings, spicy, and acidic foods. You will also generally want to avoid cooked foods since they usually contain butter, oils, or seasonings.

How often do you feed your worms?

The great thing about worms is that they are not like your cat or dog that needs regular feedings. Worms can go without food for several weeks.  You do not have to feed them every day, just throw in your food scraps as you produce them throughout the week.

How much do you feed your worms?

As mentioned above, worms can go without food for several weeks. You do not have to worry much about underfeeding them, but instead a common mistake is overfeeding. Overfeeding will attract flies and produce a foul odor. If you notice that the worms are taking a long time to eat the food, you may be overfeeding them.  If they have large amounts of uneaten food, hold back on feeding your worms for a couple days until they catch up. You can also help the worms eat faster by cutting their food into smaller pieces and burying it under the bedding.  Additionally, feeding depends on how large your worm population is.  A large population will eat much faster than a small population.


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Posted: February 6, 2023

Category: Conservation, Natural Resources
Tags: Compost, Food Waste, Landfill, Pgm_Waste, Vermicompost, Worms

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