Hot Trend:  Indoor Composting with Red Worms!

Thumbs up Uncle Jim’s Worm Farm!

Composting is key to living a healthy-lifestyle.  Why?  It’s linked to our food choices.  I teach the children (and grown-ups who love them!) that when we eat fruits and vegetables, our waste can be composted to make healthy soil, then, it can be used to grow even healthier plants for us to eat again!  If we keep choosing processed food such as fruit roll-ups, hotdogs, chicken nuggets that can’t be composted, we break the cycle of nature!  It’s one of the best visual ways I have discovered to teach children to  eat healthy eating!  They love Mother Earth and she inspires them to change their food choices!

It’s not easy composting during the winter season.  We continue to compost at HealthBarn USA thanks to my make weekly drops at the compost station of the Union Square Farmers’ Market — a bonus to living in NYC!  So, that’s getting tiring and I was inspired by the “worm team” at The New York Botanical Garden to set-up our very own compost indoor bin!  My team and the kids are wild about it and our worm friends are super productive making black gold while getting a lot of attention, too!

Container with fancy vents!

It’s super simple, you just need to have the right tools and materials.  Here’s how it works:

  1. Buy a large plastic container (can we deep or shallow) with a lid that closes tightly!
  2. Drill very small holes around the bin to make sure there is enough air flow.
  3. Place compost in 1/3 area of the total area of the bin’s bottom (too much compost can rot and smell!).
  4. Make newspaper strips (we use The New York Times because it’s printed on non-toxic soy ink) and moisten them with water (should be moist, not dripping wet) and place over compost as well as the empty area.  Fill 1/2 the bin high with newspaper, you can always add more!
  5. Worms happy in their new home!

    Place your worms on top of the newspaper and then toss them into the newspaper (technique similar to tossing salad or spaghetti) so they are evenly distributed and covered.  I highly recommend the 1,000 red worms package from Uncle Jim’s Worm Farm — beautifully packaged and super healthy worms!.

  6. Check on the worms and rotate each week.  So, the following week, carefully move the next 1/3 area of newspaper and fill with compost and cover with newspaper, and repeat!
  7. As the soil forms, take it out carefully with a filter, so you don’t mistakenly take any worms from their home!  Use the soil in your garden or for indoor plants and enjoy!

I couldn’t believe how easy and fun it was!  There wasn’t a YUCK factor even though I wore plastic gloves throughout the process!  It’s a great project for kids and the whole family and an amazing reminder to eat your fruits and veggies!

Share your indoor compost stories with us!

– Stacey Antine, MS, RDN, author, Appetite for Life, founder, HealthBarn USA, director, HealthBarn Foundation, and recognized as top 10 dietitians nationally by Today’s Dietitian magazine for her work with HealthBarn USA.

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