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Apartment Vermicomposting – Revisted

One of our loyal readers and worm friends, Sherry, recently sent me a photo of her worm bins. You may recall that Sherry helped me kickstart our ‘Reader Photos’ section on the blog with a photo of her cat Bud sleeping on a worm bin..

It seems that Sherry has continued to expand her vermicomposting nook, and after reading my recent ‘Reader Questions’ post about apartment vermicomposting wanted to show what can easily be done in a small space (in her apartment) – odour-free.

Very cool! Certainly a great indication of what can be done with relatively little space.

Thanks again to Sherry for sharing the photo.

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Written by Bentley on July 16th, 2008 with 15 comments.
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Get your own gravatar by visiting Rich A.
#1. July 16th, 2008, at 5:06 PM.

How much waste do Sherry’s bins process? I have one bin (like Sherry’s green bins) and my family of 4 generates too much organic waste for it to handle (we do a lot of cooking and have a CSA vegetable share that generates a lot of scraps).

Get your own gravatar by visiting Bentley
#2. July 17th, 2008, at 5:14 PM.

Hey Rich – I will let Sherry know that you have posted this comment. I myself am not sure of the amount she is able to process.


Get your own gravatar by visiting Sherry
#3. July 17th, 2008, at 6:00 PM.

Hi Rich,
Even though there are only the 2 of us, I cook from scratch and generate a fair amount of food for the lads. I give them potato peelings as well, which some people don’t. I figure I have about 5 lb of waste per week.

I freeze all my foods first. The worms can’t keep up to it otherwise, plus it eliminates fruit flies. Also, it’s a ready source of food in lean times.
I was planning on putting my tomato skins from the bushel of Roma tomatoes I buy each year, but have since read that tomatoes are too acidic for them. I may try a bit at a time, to see if they eat it. I’ll have to find out if other people use tomatoes in their bins.


Get your own gravatar by visiting Mary Birch
#4. July 18th, 2008, at 5:00 PM.

I have a worm bin in my kitchen, and it smells good, like a rain forest or freshly dug soil. They only time it didn’t smell “right” was when I put in cooked beans. :) Needless to say, I save those for my compost pile.

And I do avoid tomatoes. I don’t peel off the skins anyway. When I make spaghetti sauce, I just put the whole thing in the food processor, and no one is the wiser. So far my worms favorite foods have been cooked brown or white rice and banana peels.

Best wishes, and thanks for a great photo, Sherry!


Get your own gravatar by visiting Sherry
#5. July 18th, 2008, at 6:38 PM.

Hi Mary!
Thanks for the kind words regarding my bin set-up. This is all in my spare bedroom of my apartment…I obviously don’t have any overnight guests!

I was quite interested when I read your post about your worms loving your cooked rice. A few months back I fed a previous herd some rice that we don’t like. I mixed it in some regular food for them. A day or two later I checked, and the rice was in clumps and steaming!
A lot of my worms succumbed to the heat. I’ve never fed them rice since. They did enjoy the feast of spaghetti a couple days ago.

Thanks for the tip on the tomatoes. I always simmer and peel them prior to making them into sauce etc. I’ll have to try it your way. Do you think peelings would be too acidic for them?

Get your own gravatar by visiting L.Bo Marie
#6. July 18th, 2008, at 6:54 PM.

funny thing… the quickest my worms have ever devoured something was a rotted tomato! the entire thing was gone in a day… but I don’t give it often, so I guess it doesn’t have a huge impact that way.

Get your own gravatar by visiting Sherry
#7. July 18th, 2008, at 7:05 PM.

I’d love to find out more from people who have experience with feeding their herd a fair amount of tomatoes. I hate to throw out all those tomato pieces and skins later this summer.

Get your own gravatar by visiting Nico
#8. July 18th, 2008, at 10:48 PM.

Thats a nice looking setup you have there Sherry. I just started my first worm bin, but will probably make few more soon.

Get your own gravatar by visiting Mary
#9. July 19th, 2008, at 3:08 PM.


Thanks so much for your comment about rice. It goes to show that what works well in one person’s bin might not work well in another; you just have to be careful. I’m thinking that maybe your temperature or humidity might be different than mine; or who really knows? But your comment is a good reminder to err on the side of caution.

By the way, your pix make me want to set up another bin. :)

Get your own gravatar by visiting Bentley
#10. July 19th, 2008, at 4:44 PM.

Hi Guys,
Quite the little discussion going on here! Cool.

Interesting about the rice – like Sherry, I’ve had a negative experience with using it. I added too much and ended up with a nasty anaerobic mess, not to mention zillions of white worms (aka pot worms).

Tomatoes are excellent worm bin fodder – I figure as long as you have cardboard (or whatever bedding you use) to absorb the excess moisture you will be fine. I’ve added ALL the leftover tomatoes from my tomato garden to my outdoor worm bin for a couple years now, with no negative repercussions. In my experience, worms love em!

Get your own gravatar by visiting Sherry
#11. July 19th, 2008, at 5:00 PM.

Hi Bentley
Great that you chimed in!!! Hope you don’t mind our little ramble here….

Your comment decided it. If tomatoes are good enough for your guys, they’re good enough for mine!! You’re the ultimate worm guru, after all.

Get your own gravatar by visiting Bentley
#12. July 19th, 2008, at 6:03 PM.

I’m no ‘guru’, Sherry – just an ordinary guy who happens to have an unusually keen interest in vermicomposting. I think “worm dork” might be a more appropriate term!

Get your own gravatar by visiting Michael
#13. August 1st, 2008, at 1:32 AM.

That is a nice system. Have you considered creating a vertical or horizontal flow system?

I’ve also used tomatoes in my worm bin with no ill effects. I just do not use any citrus not that I eat much. If I do I sneak it into my weekly lawn clippings for the township. They have a town wide composting system. I just wish they’d use kitchen scraps too. I’d have a place to put all the melon rinds. My worms get some but we go threw 1 to 3 melons a week.

Get your own gravatar by visiting Sherry
#14. August 1st, 2008, at 1:45 AM.

Hi Michael,
I’m not sure exactly what you mean by horizontal flow system. Do you mean a design where the worms travel willingly from one bin to the next???

I haven’t fed them any tomatoes yet, but they do like grapefruit. We don’t eat as much as we should, but when I do feed it, they really like it. Perhaps all the pulp in the skin makes it more appetizing than just straight orange peels.

Get your own gravatar by visiting Sherry
#15. August 1st, 2008, at 1:46 AM.

I’ve been feeding my guys a fair bit of watermelon too, plus I’ve got some rinds in the freezer for future use.

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