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Lawn Composting with Worms

by Gabby Hyman, All About Lawns Columnist

All year long, you create a rich source of nutrients for your lawn just by eating fish, fruits, vegetables, eggs, and drinking coffee. If you're not composting your table scraps--from egg shells to coffee grounds, you're not only missing a great opportunity to recycle, you're passing on a free source of key minerals that help lawns thrive. One way to break waste down efficiently into rich black compost is to use worms. Vermicomposting usually takes very little effort once you stockpile a healthy supply of worms and build frames and bedding for them.

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You'll need about two pounds of worms per pound of food scraps to set up shop. The first step is to create bins between a foot and a foot and a quarter deep. Worms, if kept reasonably warm and well-fed with scraps, can double their population in as little as three months. A box about 1'tall/2'deep/3'wide will handle up to six pounds of scraps a week, according to the New Hampshire Cooperative Extension. Moist cardboard or newspaper makes for good bedding. Cover the top with black plastic.

Worm Compost and Lawn Care

Red wrigglers (Eisenia foetida) typically make great compost worms. Get them from a nearby bait shop or order them online. Every couple of months, push the worms aside and find a thick, black layer of usable compost. If your compost bin odor is overwhelming, stir the ingredients and let some air inside--or stop feeding the worms for a few days.

It's typically a good idea to compost your lawn three or four times a year. It can amend your soil and fight grass stress and lawn disease. Since your worm compost is organic, it shouldn't hurt the soil, or permanently stain any non-grassy surfaces. Spread it on the lawn with a shovel and rake until it's blended in. Water well.


About the Author
Gabby Hyman has created online strategies and written content for Fortune 500 companies including eToys, GoTo.com, Siebel Systems, Microsoft Encarta, Avaya, and Nissan UK.

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