EarthwormVermicomposting is composting using worms.  There are a variety of species of worms.  The most common used earthworm are Red Wigglers or Night Crawlers (think fish bait).  These can easily be looked up online for more information as well as to purchase online.

We have become interested in raising worms after watching a video produced by Olomana gardens in Haiwaii.  In this video worms were raised very easily in a stacked composting bin.  These bins can also be found online and seem relatively inexpensive.  At Olomana gardens the worms were being raised under permaculture principles.  Garden and food waste are fed to the worms. The worms produce castings (vermicompost) or are fed to chickens. Then the compost or chicken poo is used to fertilize the gardens.  So a cycle is created that is relatively self-sustaining.  Each system depends on the other to produce well.

Of course, I went immediately to the internet and to youtube to find information on raising worms.  There are a variety of ways to do this.  Stack bins seem to be.......

an easy way and the bins look nice in your yard.  But there are also a variety of examples on line for various containers and systems in which to grow worms.  These could be old recycled plastic containers, wood or metal containers. Some materials are less desirable than others in worm bin construction. Styrofoam is least desirable because it is believed to release toxins into the earthworms' environment.  Be careful of the type of wood you use because cedar and redwood contain resinous oils that may harm or kill the worms.

You will need to punch holes or use screen for air in the lid and holes for air in the bottom to drain out excess moisture.  Worms need the compost or castings to stay moist but not overly wet.  The lid is needed to keep your worms from escaping.  This website has instructions for an inexpensive and easy worm composting system:

Redworms feed best at temperatures that range from 59 - 77 degrees.  They can survive at temperatures that are as low as 50 degrees temporarilty.  Temperatures above 86 degrees are too hot and may harm or kill your worms.  Worm bins should be located under a shelter or in the shade away from direct sunlight.  Also be sure to protect them from cold temperatures and possible frosts in the winter.

Small-scale vermicomposting is an excellent way to manage a small garden's waste and kitchen scraps.  It is an excellent way to provide fertilizer back to your garden.  If you have a few chickens at your yardstead, I am sure they will appreciate the worm as an occasional supplement to their diet.