Top 5 Best Worm Composters For Your Garden – Ultimate Guide
Worm composting is a method of naturally growing plants without utilizing synthetic types of fertilizers. While the most common organic materials utilized for garden composting are kitchen scraps, wood chips, and animal manure, worms are also a great compost source. Called vermicomposting, the process of using worm for compost requires using the best worm composters, which is our primary purpose of writing this article.
A worm composter, as it is often called, is a bin specially designed to hold thousands of worms who assist in breaking down mere organic materials into nutrient-filled compost. Apart from the fact that this method is a great way of minimizing food waste, it is an effective way of saving money from purchasing those costly plant fertilizers. So, how do you choose the best worm composter from the wide range of options on the market? That’s where we come in.
Things to Look for When choose a Best Worm Composter
While you can make your own worm composter out of buckets and boxes, there are some things commercial worm composters have that are lacking in DIY types.
If you are adding lots of vegetable or fruit matter, particularly things such as watermelon rinds or other wet stuffs, it will create a liquid that is called “leachate” or “worm tea.” Your worms do not like the additional moistness and can truly drown if it is excessive, so a draining method such as spigot is required for leachate.
By chance, the leachate contains some nutrients or supplements and therefore can be utilized as a source of fertilize. However, it has a caveat, which is the fact that it does not go through the gut of the worm which may be due to the some pathogens that have not been killed. Thus, it is not safe for use on consumable plants. If your worm composter comes with a nozzle, you can regularly drain off the leachate, mix it with 50/50 water at least, and spread it on the soil in a garden or on your lawn. Also, you can add it to a hot pile of compost, since the heat will eradicate any pathogens left in the leachate.
Ease of Harvesting Castings
While you can make a DIY composter out of any box or bucket with holes for drainage, you would need to pull out the worms, their castings, and their food, and separate all of them manually. Majority of the commercial composters offer options which ease everything for you. The less you perturb your colony, the faster their reproductions will be. Therefore, an inbuilt option that simplifies the process is perfect.
If the waste food for the worms is being produced by just a person, you probably do not require a really large composter, nor a lot of worms. However, your family might grow and you might start producing much more waste, which is why you will need a worm composter than is capable of expanding according to your needs. This allows your colony to breed and also expand.
Naturally, worms live far away from sunshine, so you need your worm composter to mimic that natural habitat as much as possible. Choose a worm composter that is opaque so that it will be capable of blocking excess light.
Another important thing for worms is ventilation. Ensure your worm composter has a domed lid or holes running through it to bolster ventilation and make sure your worms are getting adequate air. Just like human beings, composting worms have to breathe as well. So, making sure that they have adequate ventilation is a must.
Protection From the Elements
If you intend to put your worm composter outside, then a lid is required to prevent rain from entering the composter. You also need a shady area so that the composter isn’t exposed to the heat of the sun. If you are putting your composter inside, you can choose a different arrangement, but you will need to ensure it is still fairly climate-controlled.
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Top Picks and Reviews for the Best Worm Composters
Our Top Pick
It isn’t easy to choose the best worm composter, especially if you are new to worm farming. Based on key criteria, below are our picks for the best worm composters on the market right now.
1. Worm Factory 360 WF360B Worm Composter ( Our Top Pick)
The Worm Factory 360 is one of the most popular worm bins on the market and after reading about it, we aren’t surprised. It is made from recycled plastic, which isn’t really breathable. However, the advantage it will prevent moisture from getting out. It comes with some handy tools such as a rake, scraper, pH meter, moisture meter, and thermometer. Also, the product comes with a manual, an instructional DVD, and a book named “The Complete Guide to Vermicomposting With the Worm Factory 360”.
Furthermore, the worm composter includes 4 trays stacked vertically, which allows you to have access to more than a single tray at a moment. Besides, you can expand the number of trays to 9, if need be. However, if you allow the trays to be excessively full, the weight will compress the castings in the lower trays, thereby restricting air circulation. Drainage is made easy by the spigot and also makes collecting worm tea and farm leachate very easy.
The legs of the worm composter are angled slightly outwards and a bit wider. This helps make the composter more stable and secure. The lid of the composter doubles as a stand holding the trays when it is required to harvest the castings. The trays; bottom will be covered in worm compost so this makes the process a little cleaner, particularly if your worm composter is put indoors.
2. Hungry Bin Flow-Through Worm Farm
The Hungry Bin Worm Composter is one of the most efficient food processors out there. It comes with an inventive flow-through design which makes maintenance extremely easy. When it comes to efficiency and productivity, you will be hard-pressed to find a better worm composter than the Hungry Bin. It’s easy to use; set it up, put the leachate catch-tray beneath, and add your worms and beddings at the base, then add food slowly on top.
As the worms eat their food, the castings begin to drop down to the base of the bin, thereby producing a layer of ready-to-utilize castings. When you are ready for harvest, simply adhere to the instructions or directions on how to open the bottom and scoop the finished compost out. While this product comes with a heavy price tag, it’s flow-through design removes the need to stack up surplus trays, and it gives all year compost in a little footprint.
The is a larger surface area on the top of the composter and the lid comes with a lot of holes for adequate ventilation. However, air circulation can still be an issue because of the scale of the bin. The bin’s structure is durable and can be moved around on wheels. Generally, this is a tray that doesn’t have many drawbacks, except its expensive price maybe.
3. VermiHut 5-Tray Worm Compost Bin
If you are in search of a more affordable worm composter, you might want to take a look at the VermiHut 5-Tray Worm Compost Bin. With an aesthetic design and produced using recycled plastic, this worm composter is appealing to the eyes. It has 5 stacking trays, a lid, a pedestal base, and a liquid collection tray. You can expand the trays up to 7 so there is adequate room for your worms.
Furthermore, the bottom tray is placed on a cloth filter or plastic board which helps prevent your worms from dropping into the liquid collection tray. Besides, the worm composter is compact making it ideal for smaller courtyards, balconies, and backyards. It is also easy to put together, and unlike some other stackable worm composters, it is easy to use and maintain.
In addition, the lid of the composter has a roof shape with side holes for better ventilation. The only downside here is that the holes air pretty large, making it more difficult to prevent pests from entering and also allows your worms to escape. Keep in mind that your worms may attempt to escape if they can’t endure the conditions in the bin.
4. Nature's Footprint Worm Factory DS5TT 5-Tray Worm Composter
Worm composting, surely, is a very environment-friendly method of converting kitchen straps directly into nutrient-filled compost for your garden. You are sure to have thriving plants when you use this kind of compost. The Worm Factor DS5BT Worm Composter instinctively separates kitchen scraps from compost. Just fill the lower tray with meals scraps, bedding, and red wiggler worms.
Since the worms need to digest, they will frequently move upward into your tray prior to leaving nutrient-rich castings behind. You can easily drain the liquid made from the worm castings as a new fertilizer, additionally referred to as worm tea. In addition, the lid of the Worm Factor DS5BT Worm composter profiles adequate air circulation so there are no unpleasant odors.
Furthermore, the Worm Factory Worm Composter comes comprehensive and easy instructions. Made in USA, the composter measures 16 x 16 x 16 inches in dimensions. Also, you can expand this composter vertically, which allows an improved compost capacity while keeping a very small footprint. Each tray, when full, weights around 12.5 lbs, which makes it easy to lift and coordinate trays. In addition, it is fairly great to produce waste free castings.
5. Urban Worm Bag Worm Composting Bin
One of the biggest problems often associated with most worm composters is how they get excessively hot in hot weather sometimes. Therefore, the worms die from extreme heat. The Urban Worm Bag Worm Composting Bin, however, is very breathable and enables heat to quickly dissipate – but that does not give you the liberty to place it under direct sunlight. Its design is very easy to use, and the castings leave the worm composter in a meticulous and controlled manner.
Furthermore, the composter is capable of processing non-meat, non-dairy household waste into a nutrient-rich fertilizer or soil amendment right in your home. The composter features 4 sq ft of space and more than five cubic ft of volume, so it is capable of holding up to 8 pounds of worms at maximum capacity, processing as much as 3 to 4 pounds of domestic waste each day.
How to Use Worm Compost in Your Garden?
Plants Top Dressing
As implied by the name, top dressing is the application of compost over the soil. Thankfully, this method doesn’t take a lot. All you need to do is to just sprinkle the worm compost over the region, and the compost will filter down eventually and feed the plant. A lot of people consider this method as the easiest since it requires no mixing or measuring.
While this method is sometimes referred to as side dressing also, the concept remains the same. Every couple of months a gardener sprinkles a handful of worm compost at the bottom of the plant. Each time rain falls, or a small creature carries a little cast down the soil, your plant will receive a delivery of minerals and vitamins.
Unlike top dressing, soil amendment with worm compost is carried out before you set the plant into place. For this situation, you would mix garden soil or potting soil with the worm compost so that it’s smooth all through and surrounds the base or roots as soon as they reach out into the earth.
This method requires more worm compost to begin with but improves the general structure of the soil alongside the nutrition it offers. Most people use this method to make sure that any special ornamentals get the necessary TLC that will aid their establishment and overcome environmental stress.
Whether you’re beginning indoors vegetable plants or transplanting a potted plant, it will benefit the plants if you add some compost to your developing medium. You can buy a seed starter mix or you can create your own growing medium. You are recommend to utilize the following recipe: ⅓ coir, ⅓ vermicompost, and ⅓ vermiculite. Since you will like your plants to get the best possible start, this is an excellent utilization of your valuable, powerful worm castings.
Liquid Fertilizer (Compost Tea)
The name is deceiving since the first thing that comes to your mind is chamomile or something like that, but compost tea is produced by soaking finished worm compost instead of tea leaves. After some time, valuable organisms multiply inside the water which makes an energizer that both directly delivers nutrients to the roots, but can as well be sprayed over the plants as a protection against things such as infestation and airborne diseases.
Lawn Top Dressing
Just like your house vegetable and plants garden gain from the utilization of vermicompost, so will your lawn. The application is simple; all you need to do is spread it lightly on your lawn so that it does not conceal the grass but instead falls down in the middle of the blades. You can do this by broadcasting the worm compost over your lawn by hand or utilizing a compost spreader or push seed.
To use the compost spreader, ensure that the vermicompost is fine and dry, else it will clog up the compost spreader. Since this technique requires a lot of vermicompost, a more effective utilization of your valuable homemade vermicompost may be to add the compost to the trouble spots in your lawn only. If there are a few bald spots, apply some worm compost over them to give them a lift.
People that have interest in worm composting have several options when it comes to worm composters, including models which fit pretty much every budgets and models that come with guides on how composting is done properly.
The best worm composters usually have a great capacity, are easy to use, and handle pests and odors very well. While each of the composters featured on this article ticks these boxes, the most outstanding one is the Worm Farm 360 Worm Composter. It comes at a reasonable price, is expandable, has just about everything required, and is a great choice.