Why I Compost with Worms

6 comments by Halley -Author at MIGardener

As I walk into the store with a request for bad food scraps, I get asked all the time, "What are you going to do with all this bad food?"  My answer is simple, "I am going to feed it to my worms to turn Americas wasteful habits into some of the richest organic food for my plants."

Nah, I am just kidding. I would never insult a supermarket like that, especially since they are giving me free scraps, but it's what I wish I could say. I just simply tell them I am feeding my worms.  So Why do I use composting worms?

Number 1 reason - EFFICIANCY. Plain and simple, worms are so efficient in what they do that almost 90% of what you throw in, comes back out in the form of black gold. Compare that to any other animal and you're looking at 15-20% return. That means worms require far less, and they give you far more.

Reason #2 -  Space. When I have composting worms, I use a 15 gallon tub system, and with the 3 systems I have, I typically will get about 50-60 pounds of castings every 5 weeks, but only take up around 10 square feet.

Reason #3 - Beneficial bacteria. Composting worms have many many more bacteria than your average compost pile. 1 teaspoon of regular garden soil has around 1 billion microbes. Where as compost has 3-4 billion. But it gets even better, 1 teaspoon of pure worm castings will contain anywhere from 6-8 billion microbes. These microbes help with symbiotic relationships with the plant, they also aid in warding off bad bugs, and harmful fungus spores which are gobbled up by the microbes.

Reason #4 - Cost.  1 pound of worm castings is worth roughly $3. That is putting the price per pound right up there near ground sirloin. So when I am producing 120 pounds every 5 weeks, that is saving me almost $360+. That totals up to be around $3600 savings by the end of the year.

reason #5 - Carbon footprint reduction. I can feed my worms just about anything, paper, cardboard, food scraps, egg shells, hair, vacuum lint, coffee grounds, and so much more. The ability for me to throw that all in the worm bin vs. the landfill hugely saves on the amount of bags I send there. This ultimately can keep around 3000 pounds a year out of the landfill. that's right...3000 pounds. How would you like to not throw away your car every year? It feels great!

There are many more reasons, but it is pretty self explanatory why I do it. There is no smell, takes up little space, the worms are happy to eat, and I am happy to have been saving money on multiple angles. All the while providing my garden with some of the best organic nutrients your money can buy. Even though... I don't have to buy it ;)


  • Brandi S

    Hi, is there a way to keep seeds from germinating in the worm compost after it’s sifted and ready for use? Thanks.

  • Debi T

    What happens to the worms in the sub-zero temps of winter? We’re coming out of a rough winter that started early with our first snowfall on November 4, and it didn’t stop for two+ months. Super cold … what happens to your friends who mingle with the microbes?

  • I heard that too.Is It so?I haven't seen any.

    My name:Opal Ezell

  • Maricarmen

    I agree… I consider myself a lazy compost lady. The turning and temperature control are not for me. I have plastic towers and wire frames and fill them with chicken bedding, food scraps, weeds, etc. and let the worms do their job. I sift a lot of vermicompost every month and gather worms for the next pile or bin. Plants love the compost and I feed the extra worms to the chickens. With that compost and fermented liquid fertilizer I have achieved great results in the garden. Cusco, Peru.

  • John Tronnier

    I have a raised garden with a healthy crop of worms in it and after a few years it is becoming almost all worm casings. What do you think I should do? I hate to tear up all the plants in order to move some of the casings out.

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