The project of converting my front yard from turf grass with Asian shrubs to all native plants.

vermicomposting in cat litter buckets

Three Tidy Cats litter buckets, which are square rather than cylindrical, nested together.

My worms arrived today, before I figured out how to house them for composting. Not to worry. I've got cat litter buckets.

I won't bore you with the mistaken approach I started with, which led me to have too many holes. Instead, how I'll be doing it from now on...

Stack of Tidy Cats buckets on its side, ventilation holes clearly visible below the rim of the outer bucket.

The way this works is there are three buckets. The bottom one is just for collecting the liquid fertilizer that gets produced. The other two are for the worms and their substrate and food.

The stack of buckets laid on its side, with blue arrows pointing to the holes drilled just under the lip of the outermost bucket and a red bracket shape showing the part of the bucket that is open area inside.

These buckets have some nice empty space in the bottom when nested so I don't have to do anything special to hold them apart. That's what the red bracket shape is showing.

So I stack them and drill holes just under the lip all the way around. The drill goes through all 3 buckets.

Then I swap the top 2 buckets and drill into the same holes again, making new holes in the inner two buckets.

Each inner bucket winds up with two rows of holes, and that's fine.

The bottom of one of the buckets with holes drilled in three rows.

I do not drill the bottom of the outer bucket. But I do drill rows of holes in the lowest portions of the two inner buckets.

So in the middle bucket, I put the worms, the peat moss they came in, some wet brown paper, and some kitchen scraps I had been saving for composting.

I'll keep an eye on these guys. And any new kitchen scraps and paper scraps go into the top bucket. As the worms exhaust all the nutrients in the middle bucket, they will crawl up into the top bucket to get a feast. And then I can collect the castings (dirt) from the middle bucket. After which I swap those two buckets around and the worms will once again be in the middle bucket.

When I pour off the liquid out of the bottom bucket, I can mix that with water and use that to fertilize whatever needs it. They call it worm tea and it's supposed to be really good for the plants.

Using worms to create compost is called vermicomposting. Raising worms is called vermiculture.

Oh and today I learned that no earthworms are native to North America, which is why I didn't want to do in-ground vermicomposting. I don't want these little guys loose. Although it probably doesn't matter, since we have then everywhere anyway.