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Composting > Garbage Can Composting

Garbage Can Composting

Here's a large-capacity vermicomposting system for vegetableatarians and big families. It might even have sufficient digestive capacity for serious juice makers. You'll need two or three, 20 to 30 gallon garbage cans, metal or plastic. In two of them drill numerous half-inch diameter holes from bottom to top and in the lid as well. The third can is used as a tidy way to hold extra dry bedding.

Begin the process with about 10 inches of moist bedding material and worms on the bottom of the first can. Add garbage on top without mixing it in and occasionally sprinkle a thin layer of fresh bedding.

Eventually the first can will be full though it will digest hundreds of gallons of garbage before that happens. When finally full, the bulk of its contents will be finished worm casts and will contain few if any worms. Most of the remaining activity will be on the surface where there is fresh food and more air. Filling the first can may take six months to a year. Then, start the second can by transferring the top few inches of the first, which contains most of the worms, into a few inches of fresh bedding on the bottom of the second can. I'd wait another month for the worms left in the initial can to finish digesting all the remaining garbage. Then, you have 25 to 30 gallons of worm casts ready to be used as compost.

Painting the inside of metal cans with ordinary enamel when they have been emptied will greatly extend their life. Really high-volume kitchens might run two vermicomposting garbage cans at once.

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