Easy Ways to Compost In Urban Environments

Easy Ways to Compost In Urban Environments

Many people living in cities, apartment complexes, or housing communities with little or no yard space think that composting is not possible or practical. However, I will demonstrate that composting is possible in even the smallest city apartment.

Mother Nature desperately needs every person to compost – especially those living in the concrete jungles of our world’s major cities!

Amma cleaning the beach after her 2018 Swacchata Hi Seva (Clean India) Address

Amma has said that there was never a mahatma (saint or Realized Being) that ever existed who wasted anything!
This is a humbling thought for those of us seeking true spiritual growth.

In the past, I wrote a blog about red worm composting. Although it is possible to maintain a small to moderate sized worm bin in a kitchen or closet, many city dwellers with small apartments or homes may feel there is not enough space for such an endeavor. In addition, if red worm composting seems too “high maintenance” for your liking, I will suggest some easier methods here.

With urban composting – especially in composting experiments which seem limited by space – the first step to full success is source reduction. One of the biggest environmental issues is the vast amount of food rotting in landfills which releases damaging methane gas into the atmosphere.

“In the United States, food waste is estimated at between 30-40 percent of the food supply. This estimate, based on estimates from USDA’s Economic Research Service of 31 percent food loss at the retail and consumer levels, corresponded to approximately 133 billion pounds and $161 billion worth of food in 2010.”

Source: USDA Website

Reducing Your Waste

How sad it is that there are so many people going without food – even starving to death – and 30-40 percent of the United States’ food supply is literally thrown away in landfills.

Figure 1: This visual aid was created by the USDA and the EPA; and is referenced from https://www.usda.gov/foodlossandwaste/faqs

According to the USDA, Source Reduction is the preferred method to reducing food waste and the ultimate pollution it causes – more important than composting itself. Source Reduction means that we consciously monitor and reduce the waste we produce at home and at work. Source Reduction is also more ideal than recycling, repurposing, and upcycling.

To grow spiritually, we must learn to take less from the environment and people; and learn to give more.`

Regarding the environment, “giving more” means using less and buying less food per grocery store trip.

Is Composting On A Smaller Scale Even Practical?

Recently, I noticed a dear friend of mine who is concerned about the environment throw away food scraps and some recyclables in front of me. I gently asked her why she was doing this when she truly was concerned about the environment.
She responded: “I am convinced that individuals can no longer make a difference unless major companies change their ways.”

My question would be: Well, who supports these major corporations? We do.

Pay attention to where you spend your money. Do some research. Do not support companies that do not have a MINIMAL “green friendly policy” for their company procedures and waste production.

Humans do not like to take responsibility.

It is the Nature of the Ego to want bodily comfort (which generally does not support Mother Nature’s health) and to say: “Well, HE, SHE, or THEY are doing it! What is the use of me trying to compost?”
This egoistic idea is, in fact, the impractical, apathetic problem.

In a recent Amritaculture Special Presentation on the “The 5 Elements of Creation,” Swami Shantamritananda Puri spoke on how Amma had said many of Her children would be sent into the world. Swamiji mentioned that Amma said (I paraphrase), “Do not expect to change the world. It is enough if you yourself do not change (in a negative way).”
Let us deeply take Amma’s wisdom into our hearts and apply this to Urban Composting!

Do not worry about the scale of your composting experiment. Just do it; and do it sincerely with love for Amma and the Earth.
Buy less food per shopping expedition. Notice how much you throw away each day and week. Modify your shopping list as you move forward to reduce your need to compost to the very minimum.

Whatever method of composting you use, even if you compost only a portion of your food waste, multiply that by the 8 billion people on this planet. If we can make it part of our human culture that all humans do this minimal effort, the environment might have a fighting chance to heal. Also, if 8 billion people (or even a quarter of this) decide to not support mega-corporations with no view to environmental protection – how long can those criminal companies stay in business?

Let each of us act on the environmental changes we want to see others doing. Shine for all to see! This is true sadhana (spiritual practice) and true seva (selfless service).

Bokashi Bins

Figure 2: Bokashi Bin packages can be bought online. This photo is from Kenneth Woolridge’s book, “Urban Composting.”

• Bokashi Bins are a very easy method of clean composting that uses minimal kitchen space.
• All kitchen scraps (vegetable, meat, and dairy) can go in the bin. Bones are the one exception and moldy foods are not recommended.
• It produces a liquid fertilizer which can be added to plants or gardens.
• The internal broken-down compost can be added to plants or gardens.
• No odors are perceptible.

• There is the ongoing expense of purchasing the Bokashi fermentation mix which you add over layers of compost. Bokashi mix is a sawdust/grain and uses a specially designed micro-organism mix made up of lactic acid bacteria, yeasts, photosynthetic bacteria, actinomycetes, and fungi.
• This is an anerobic process of composting which does release some methane gas – not constantly; but when the sealed bin is opened.
• Ultimately, things break. The hard plastic parts are recyclable. Look for Bokashi Mix refills that are in paper based packaging instead of the plastic one seen in Figure 2.

Electronic Composters

Figure 3: Pictured above is a Vitamix brand electronic composter. The picture is from Amazon.com.

• There are a lot of electronic composters on the market.
• Most brands allow kitchen scraps (vegetable, meat, and dairy) to go in. Bones and fruit seeds (like peach pits) are not permitted for some brands – so read the fine print.
• No odors are perceptible.

• They tend to be expensive — $300 USD or higher. You must balance the cost with the ease of use, the fact you do not need repeat purchase of fermentation mixes or liquids, that they do not require bodily strength (like Trench Composting discussed later in this blog), and they are “clean” – no dirt will get on your hands!

• I am suspicious of the length of time these machines last. In our culture, we do not often repair items but through them away. Many areas of the world do not offer electrical appliance recycling. I would hate to see more things piling up in landfills…

To explore more about electronic composters, this YouTube link may be of interest:

Now, we will review urban composting methods which require more effort but have little expense, a onetime expense, or even no expense at all. Not all methods will work for all people.

Soil Crates

Soil Crates are easy to use and in some of its variations they are very environmentally friendly.
Soil Crates are traditionally made from wood – which requires a simple YouTube search for DIY people! Alternately, you can pay a handy friend to make you one.
(See hard plastic versions below.)

If you have a small green space or a balcony, this is a marvelous method of composting that is relatively effortless. You DO NOT need a massive soil crate to make a BIG DIFFERENCE.

Create the bin according to your green space’s or balcony’s dimensions.

Add soil. Add food scraps. Done.

Once a week rotate the compost with a hand shovel or a normal shovel. Add water (keep it moist!) Keep it protected and covered from rain.

Insects and micro-organisms will come to help you!
Do not add meat, bones, or dairy – otherwise, you will attract rodents, raccoons, and other undesirable animal friends.
The food scraps break down relatively fast. The soil becomes “living soil” which can be used for potted houseplants or blended into your garden’s soil.

Figure 5: You can purchase online hard plastic versions of the same with or without a lid.

Pit Or Trench Composting

I live right in the middle of the bustling capitol of Toluca, State of Mexico, Mexico – our home base for GreenFriends Mexico!
I am fortunate to have a small garden in front of my home.
I use trench composting all the time. I have a trench dug and I bury a lot food scraps there. The earth worms love me!
The food decomposes shockingly fast which creates living soil rich in composted fertilizer. This soil becomes exceptionally sponge-like, and less watering is needed when I plant veggies and flowers along the trench.
When I lived at Amritapuri in 2006, I regularly composted via the trench method which is what inspires me even today to continue doing so.
You can also reserve one area of your green space to dig a pit and bury the food scraps in the pit. You can use the same pit monthly over and over. The food scraps will be long gone when you come back!

Some people make more elaborate pits if they have larger green spaces and like the idea (see below).

Figure 10: This is a large compost pit dug out in Delhi, India. The dirt is kept aside as food scraps and cardboard are added, a layer of soil is placed on top. A cover of wood or some other device can be used to prevent people from falling in. I have a very small form of this in my front yard in the city of Toluca. Do not ever think that a smaller scale is ineffective! In a tiny pit, I compost a ton of used napkins, food scraps, and cardboard boxes from Amazon or cereal boxes, etc. It works and it works fast! Dried leaves, twigs, and lawn scraps can go in, too!

What Do I Do With All This Compost? I Live In The City!!!

A common concern is what to do with the compost generated in the house.
Here are some brief ideas:
• Mix your compost in with soil for potted plants in your apartment or urban home
• Go on a hike or to a city park and sprinkle it over the grass or at the base of a tree as you chant Lokaha Samastaha Sukhino Bhavantu or your mantra.
• Share the compost with neighbors or community gardens in your area.
• Trench or pit compost if a small green area is available.


I hope this stimulates many more ideas for you to compost in cities or in homes with little or no green space as this small article does not come close to exhausting all the possibilities out there! Challenge yourself to start a composting experiment today.
Offer this to the Divine – without delay!

The Earth needs YOU.

If you have any questions, please feel free to email amritacultureteam@gmail.com.
Om Amriteshwaryai,
With Love,

Composting: Sadhana (Spiritual Practice) That Can Heal The Earth

Composting: Sadhana (Spiritual Practice) That Can Heal The Earth

Om Namah Shivaya, Everyone! Welcome to my blog on Urban Gardening & Composting coming to you from GreenFriends Mexico!

This month we will continue our discussion on Urban Composting; and we will preliminarily conclude the topic in my next blog coming soon in August 2021 with other specific ways to compost if you live in a city or home with limited outdoor and / or indoor (kitchen) space.

Composting Taboos & Fear of Getting Our Hands Dirty. Ewwww! Composting is gross and smelly! Right? Wrong!

If you learn to compost correctly and start your composting experiments off small, there will be absolutely no smell, no insects, no rodents – all false myths about indoor urban composting!

On June 20, 2021, I offered an Amritaculture Live Q&A Session of Red Worm Composting in urban environments with Hugo Bernal. Here is the link to this session and other amazing offerings from Amritaculture Instructors from around the world which can be found in our YouTube channel (please subscribe!): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wLEzMbuW04U

After the session on Red Worm Composting, a dear friend of mine called me. She requested that I write a blog addressing cultural and personal taboos which keep people from composting – particularly for the Asian Indian population who may be less likely to compost. I thought it was an amazing idea for a blog!

There may be cultural taboos and personal prejudices around composting. To be quite clear: Indians are not the only cultural group that may be resistant to composting! People from all backgrounds fall into this category. For many people of all backgrounds, compost bins are imagined to be dirty, full of smelly rotting food, and just plain yucky – who wants to touch that or work with that?!

I have a confession to make. I was that guy until about 2 years ago when I began to experiment with my red worm composting bin, and I fell in love with process as well as other composting projects I will share with you in my upcoming August 2021 blog! Stay tuned and watch for it to learn more!

2 Shiva lingam

Many of Amma’s children are from Mother India. Also, millions of Amma’s children globally have been heavily influenced by the thought-world and spiritual biases of Indian culture even when they may have grown up outside of India! It is well known that many Indians would be resistant to composting in general as it is a cultural taboo for Indians to handle dirty things, trash, and (possibly) compost.

Saucha (a niyama or observance of yoga delineated in Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras) means “purity.” Well-intentioned disciplined spiritual persons from India may be trying to preserve saucha – the conscious practice of inner and outer purity — and that is why they may avoid “dirty work” like composting.

Lord Jesus in the New Testament constructively criticized the spiritual people of His time for being overly concerned about “outer purity.” He smiled to Himself seeing them do lustrations or mikvehs (body washing) before entering the temple (like a devoted Hindu taking a dip in the Ganges three times or more per day prior to doing sadhana).

Jesus pointed out (I paraphrase): “Why are they so worried about washing the outside of the cup instead of the inside of the cup?” By cup, Jesus was referring to the body. We pay more attention to the outside (the body) and not enough to purifying (eradicating) the attachments and aversions which keep us chained to the wheel of samsara.

“He who helps to set up and clean up after a puja attains more merit than he who does the puja.” -Amma

There is the famous story of Amma realizing the Ashram septic system was failing. None of the early residents wanted to go into the septic tank to clean it and get it working properly. Amma – the Purest of the Pure – jumped in first. Of course, when Amma led by example everyone protested, asked Her to stop doing the dirty work, and offered to do it for Her. Amma reportedly did not stop and did the dirty work of cleaning the septic tank with Her truly Divine Hands…

When we do the “dirty work,” although the hands may become soiled – the more soiled the hands become, the purer the hands become; and, the purer our inner and outer realities become, too.

Doing composting seva (inside an ashram and / or in our homes) will be one of the most purifying spiritual practices we can do to conserve the health of Earth and to help Her to heal from the innumerable injuries each of us has caused Her due to our collective lack of education, lack of awareness, and / or lack of personal effort.

I remember living in Amritapuri. I would sweep the trash and do recycling and composting seva everyday all day long. I loved it! I had the divine privilege of serving Amma by helping to keep Her Body (the Ashram) clean! Most of the people doing these sevas noticeably were not of Indian descent. One of the few Indian people doing the seva (who happened to be coordinating the seva) told me, “Amma often says that she admires Her Western children… because they are never afraid to clean and do ‘dirty’ sevas (selfless service).”

I asked my Indian friend, “What do you mean by this?” She said, “It is a cultural thing. Cleaning and dirty work is seen as unsuitable work for many Indians.” Thus, we see a cultural taboo. This should definitively not be taken to mean that ONLY Indians are averted from dirty work due to whatever reason or philosophy.

I lived in the San Ramon Ashram, which has many Western devotees. It is amazing how many of us avoided or “forgot” to take out the kitchen compost, clean the Temple bathrooms, or sweep the dust and cobwebs out of the Temple… Amma has said (I paraphrase): “He who helps to set up and clean up after a puja attains more merit than he who does the puja.” This means that those who do sevas or tasks they view as “unfavorable” or “dirty” get more merit than those who get to do foo-foo sevas or sevas that may seem to momentarily put them in the spotlight. We must never forget that seva is sadhana (spiritual practice that leads to Liberation of Consciousness from samsara).

Composting is seva we can and should do for Amma and the planet in every home. Those who see no task (seva) as below them quickly rise to the top and are examples for all. Amma is the perfect example of this for all of us. No work is lowly. All work (all seva) is valuable. Whether we live in an ashram, offer seva at an MA Center around the world, or manage our own apartment in an urban environment, no work is lowly or unsuitable.

If we do not believe this, we need to carefully reflect on the topic. In yoga philosophy, attachment (raga) and aversion (dwesha) are the two sides of the coin of desire. Desire, according to Lord Krishna in the Bhagavad Gita, leads to suffering, frustration, and lack of spiritual illumination or true spiritual comprehension. If we are seeking spiritual liberation, we must be open to transcending attachment and aversion for the betterment of our families, communities, countries, and the globe.

It is no small exaggeration that if everyone in the world began to compost in their kitchens that we would be well on our way to healing and restoring balance to Mother Nature. To reduce the waste going into landfills should be on the mind of every person (especially if he or she is a devotee of Amma Who constantly is encouraging us to actively participate in source reduction, recycling, tree planting, and organic gardening).

If we are not composting yet because of a negative cultural perception or because we do not want to get our hands dirty, we need to roll up our spiritual sleeves and compassionately observe our egos.

The ego tells us “I want to do only what is comfortable for me. I do not want to do what inconveniences me (composting is time consuming is common false myth). I think it may be smelly or attract bugs or….” We need to educate ourselves, experiment in small ways to see what kind of composting is best for our urban habitats or small modern-day apartments.

In doing so, we will see that if various methods are done correctly in even the smallest confined spaces, there will be no smell, no insects, no rodents, no dirt to speak of. Instead of contributing to the destruction of our planet and the elimination of animal species at a horrifying rate, we can restore Mother Nature’s health and destroy Mahishasura: The Great Ego within all of us.

If any of us truly seeks moksha (union with the Divine), we must go beyond aversion. If we have negative repelling thoughts about urban composting (or composting in general), read about it with a Google search, buy a book on Urban Composting, and learn. What we do not understand we fear or have prejudices about. The world needs you! Let us go beyond all cultural taboos and personal prejudices about composting and give Earth a chance at healing.

The Benefits Outweigh Perceived Issues

Here are some important environmental benefits achieved through composting:

soil components

It improves the soil in indoor potted plants and outdoor gardens and green spaces – making the soil “living soil” due to the healthy microbes produced in the compost itself.

* Compost helps to restore and filter local water sources. Compost can retain 5 to 20 times its own weight in water. Adding compost to soil increases the amount of water that can penetrate into the soil. The water can seep all the way down to the impervious rock layer where it wells up and can begin to refill local springs, ponds, and lakes. Via downward drainage through compost, soil, and rock layers, the rainwater is filtered as it makes its way to these water sources.

* Composting Makes Our Oceans Cleaner! All water gradually makes its way to oceans. Compost’s ability to filter water as it penetrates the ground means that the water flowing into the ocean will be cleaner. One of the biggest oceanic pollutants are the nonorganic fertilizers and poisonous chemicals used in farming and gardening.

* Compost reduces erosion of topsoil and “living soil” (that is, soil with compost added to it). One-third of Earth’s farmland has been lost within the last 40 years due to erosion and pollution. Erosion is caused by excess water that is not able to penetrate the ground. Water consequently collects and pools on the surface and rushes down to lower elevations, taking the topsoil with it and depleting the agricultural land. Compost can serve as a sponge and permits much more water to filter down through the ground – thus preserving the topsoil.

* When food waste rots in landfills, it releases methane and carbon dioxide. Organic matter dumped in landfills is the third largest form of methane emission resulting from humans. Composting decomposes our food waste without producing methane emission into the atmosphere.

* Compost reduces carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. To retain microbes in our “living soil,” plant roots will release carbohydrates from their roots to both attract and feed the microbes under the soil. Plants siphon CO2 (carbon dioxide) from the air, absorb water through their roots, and via the science of photosynthesis, turn carbon dioxide into carbohydrates (sugars)! The sugars combined with the microbes that consume them produce humus — a part of the living soil that gives soil its structure, nutrients, and moisture. Humus is largely credited for keeping carbon dioxide beneath the soil.

4 compost process

* Composting saves you money! The average household wastes about $2,200 dollars’ worth of food yearly. When we compost at home, we notice how much food and money we throw away. With this awareness we can buy less and save money; or use the money we have been carelessly wasting to feed the hungry in our communities!

* Composting can create millions of jobs! Advocate in your communities for compost pick up (the same as trash or recycling pick up). When this is successfully accomplished, many people can have good paying jobs while at the same time preserving the health of our local environment!

There are so many wonderful reasons and benefits when it comes to urban composting, they simply cannot be listed exhaustively here in one blog.

Doing an online search or visiting a library is a great way to learn more and to heal the Earth if the topic interests you; or if you need further convincing to get started.

Please stay tuned for my August 2021 Blog delineating “cleaner” ways to compost in small spaces (like indoor apartments or urban homes with little or no green space).

We can make this planet Heaven on Earth. But we must have God’s grace, put in personal effort, and be aware of how our personal positive composting habits can make a big difference!

Please visit the Amrita Virtual Academy blog soon to learn more from environmental and gardening enthusiasts from around the world.

Om Namah Shivaya!

Urban Composting: Making A Red Wriggler Worm Compost Bin

Urban Composting: Making A Red Wriggler Worm Compost Bin

This post is the second of a two-part compilation on composting with red wriggler worms.

Making a Worm Bin is much easier than it may seem at first. It is a fun and easy process anyone can do. Below is a step by step process for making a worm bin. To make a Worm Bin, you will need the following items:

Plastic storage bin (medium or large)
Drill or screwdriver (be careful!)
Organic gardening soil
Organic compost
Recycled cardboard
Vegetable and fruit scraps

Prepping Your Worm Bin

Using a drill or a heated screwdriver (be very careful in any case and keep children away at this point!!!), puncture 3-4 holes 1 or 2 inches below the top of the plastic bin. This allows for fresh oxygenated air to enter so your worms can breathe!

Turn the storage bin upside down and puncture 6 to 8 (or more) holes in the bottom. If conditions within the bin become uninhabitable for the worms, they can escape to freedom. The adventurous worms often burrow out, so check under the bin weekly to see if they are trapped underneath.

If you are putting only the Suggested Food Scraps in the bin (see below) and the bin does not feel hot or steamy, then you can simply put the worms on top of your compost layers again. They will go back to munching away on their gourmet feast!

Prepping Your Suggested Food Scraps

Globally, 1.4 billion tons of food is thrown into landfills yearly. The food is usually in a sealed plastic bag – which makes it all the worse! That food is not going anywhere for an exceptionally long time and the plastic remains on the Earth for millions of years!

To help mitigate this effect, conscious people can compost. Since I began worm composting almost 2 years ago (with only 1 bin at that time), we have reduced trash bags going to the landfill by 75% or more! It has given my household a greater awareness of food waste, too!

When our worms could not keep up with our weekly food waste, we began to become aware our serious food waste problem that we had not even noticed existed – which sadly was initially very high due to buying more at the store to reduce grocery trips. We began a much more careful “food in” and “food out” inventory; and, we are happy to announce we have almost no food waste now and have saved a lot of money in the process.

But do not be alarmed! If you have too much food scraps and no room in your bin, freeze them. This is better for the worms in the long run.

All vegetable and fruit scraps can go in the worm compost bin: EXCEPT: garlic, onions, hot peppers (chilis or jalapenos, for example), and citrus fruits. In addition, do not put cooking oils, cooked foods, dairy, or meats in the worm compost bin. Tea leaves are great. SOME coffee grounds are okay OCCASIONALLY.

When you cut up fresh food scraps (“very small, please!” request your worms) it can take a week or so before the scraps decompose and liquefy enough to be eaten by our worm kids. When you take frozen scraps out of the fridge and chop it up it often turns into a liquid mush. This is exactly what the worms crave!

Try to separate veggie greens and other acceptable veggies and fruits separate inside or outside of the freezer. The idea is to keep the greens separate from all other veggies and fruits. This separation should occur whether the food scraps are kept in a freezer or not

Prepping Your Recycled Cardboard

Save your cereal boxes, Amazon boxes, and any paper or cardboard packaging. “Reduce, reuse, and recycle” is the motto. Now we will reuse that cardboard! Shred or tear up the cardboard and save it in a dry place. Cardboard is both the bedding and a huge food source for the worms.

When you are ready to make the composting layers in your bin (see below), place several handfuls of cardboard in a bucket that has been cleaned free of any cleaning product or chemical.

Add water. Mix the water and cardboard together. Squeeze out the excess water from the cardboard pieces before applying to the worm compost bin. The consistency should be like a damp sponge after the water is squeezed out of it.

If you do not seem to be harvesting enough cardboard and paper packaging, start saving the napkins you use to wipe your mouth and paper towels (that do not have chemicals on them). The worms love it!

Creating A Home for Your Worms & “Compost Layering” in the Worm Bin

First, add 2 inches of organic soil to the bottom of your worm compost bin (after drilling or puncturing the holes as described above). Then, add 2 inches of organic compost. Thereafter you will make layers of food scraps alternating with damp cardboard and paper products. It is suggested to keep GREENS separate from all other food scraps. Greens ideally go on top to keep the bin from heating up. A layer of wet or dry paper products on top is said to reduce fruit flies, etc.

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Worm Bin Maintenance

Worm compost bins are easy to keep up with. I add damp cardboard and food scraps once every week or every other week. You will be able to “eyeball” how much of each is needed very quickly. In hotter climates or hot times of year, more damp cardboard may have to be added liberally.

Black Gold (worm castings)

The red wriggler worms will tend to stay in the upper layers of the worm bin and what moves downward? Black gold! Black gold is worm poo; or worm excrement. Black gold is a mixture of soil, broken down food particles, broken down cardboard, and worm excrement. This makes a superb natural organic fertilizer for indoors and out door plants and vegetables – it is full of nitrogen and phosphorus and life!

Thanks for reading! If you find this information useful, or would like to share your insights about composting, send an email to: amritaculture@amritavirtualacademy.com

Urban Composting: Introduction to Using a Red Wriggler Worm Compost Bin

Urban Composting: Introduction to Using a Red Wriggler Worm Compost Bin

Hello everyone and welcome.

I will be offering a series of urban gardening articles for the Amrita Virtual Academy blog. In this first edition on Urban Gardening & Composting, I offer to you one of several effective ways of composting when you live in an urban environment.

This post is the first of a two-part compilation on composting with red wriggler worms.

I live in the middle of the capital of Estado de Mexico, called Toluca. It is a bustling and vibrant city right outside of Mexico City.

Our local chapter, GreenFriends Mexico, focuses on urban gardening, urban composting, and the vital need for Source Reduction. (Source Reduction means to consciously reduce the output of waste we create. Even recyclable materials need to be reduced – or re-used – if possible.)

What is an urban environment? How do we define such a thing?

Literally, it is living in the city in a home or possibly an apartment. There may be a little patch of grass outside, a small yard, a mini-balcony, or a small patio. These are great environments to start a nice Red Wriggler Worm Compost Bin!

Why Red Wriggler Worm Composting?

One question that comes up about vermiculture (worm composting) is: “Can this be done in the city?” The answer is yes! In some urban homes it is easier than others. However, we can get creative in homes that have less or no green space.

Even in more rural areas – such as newer modern housing complexes or gated communities – they have small porches and little or no green space or yards. This is a common trend in many areas.

In our modern “cement jungles,” it is especially fun for children and “kids at heart” to play with these amazing little worm souls! Kids love to participate, learn, and play with the worms!

It helps both children and adults that live in cities and other urban areas to connect with Mother Nature, understanding composting (and how long it takes for even food waste to “go away”), and to experience the wonders of Life right at home in the palms of your hands!

There are three initial questions you will want to answer before starting a worm compost bin:
Where will my worm compost bin be placed?

How large of a worm bin is manageable in the space I have?

If I live in a cold climate, do I have a place to bring the worms inside, so they do not freeze to death?

Q1: Where will my worm compost bin be placed?

A: In an urban environment, there are many places you can explore placing a worm bin. In a garage, on a balcony, porch, patio, or if you are lucky enough to have a private green space that would be great.

Q2: How large of a worm bin is manageable in the space I have?

A: Urban homes come in many different shapes and sizes depending on which city and part of a city you live in. If you have more space like a garage, patio, balcony, or strip of green land outside, a worm composting bin is perfect in these spots.

I have two bins in my tiny garden outside!

I have used medium sized to large plastic storage bins to house my red wriggler worms.

The bin cannot be too small! They need space to play, live, move, and eat. If the bin is too small or uncomfortable, they may seek new living arrangements soon!

For small apartments and homes with limited space, the worm bin may not be the best option. We will share more blogs on urban composting to come in future months, too!

Q2: If I live in a cold climate, do I have a place to bring the worms inside, so they do not freeze to death?

A: This is probably the largest consideration for using worm bins in an urban area. What are your autumns and winters like? During cold seasons, the worm bins must be brought indoors – in a garage for example. If you are shivering outside, it is too cold for your worms, too! In temperate and warmer climates (like mine), the bin can stay out year-round.

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Red Wriggler Worm Fun Facts

You can only use red wriggler worms in the compost bins for your vermiculture experiment. Other species like the common earth worm will die in the compost bins because they do not like enclosure like the red wrigglers do.

Red wriggler worms are hermaphroditic! Expect babies over time! The red wrigglers tend to gather in clusters in the bin to eat and hang out. When their bodies rub together, larvae are produced which look like little brown or whitish-brown beads. You will definitely notice the babies as they are tiny, and the adult worms are long, plump, and large!

Red wriggler worms eat their body weight worth of food a day!

If ever you want the worms to descend deeper in the bin, shine a flashlight on them or talk loudly. They do not prefer the sunlight or loud voices to interrupt their seva (selfless service) or eating meditations!

You can buy your red wriggler worms online with a simple Google Search.

This makes a superb natural organic fertilizer for indoors and outdoor plants and vegetables – it is full of nitrogen and phosphorus and life!

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