Worm bins are a quick and easy way to get concentrated, natural compost while drastically reducing your trash output. Worm castings provide almost all the nutrients your plants could need. And worm farming is very scalable: in Boston we started with just 50 worms and a very small set of bins, in Cape Town we're starting with 500 (though they're smaller) in a large bin, and I have a dream- once we're settled down- of canceling our rubbish pickup and repurposing our giant rubbish bin (used for rubbish pickup) for a larger scale farm.
Pros of vermicomposting in Cape Town:
- You can leave the bin outside (in the shade) all year round, or have it indoors- either way, the worms will be ok.
- In Cape Town, without any recycling pickup (unless you pay for it), there's the great advantage to having a place to recycle small bits of paper, junk mail, and the like. Worms don't like glossy paper very much, but the worms should be able to take all the paper waste in our house, as well as rags and so on.
- Our diet seems to fit pretty well with what the worms like: fruit scraps, bread leftovers, greens, papers. At least in summer, our supply (at my parents house) seems just right for the worms as they establish themselves.
The only con seems to be that you can't stock up on worms from bait shops, as in Boston. Most of the fishing shops here seem to be for ocean fishing (where worms aren't used as bait). So I had to buy worms at a gardening shop, where they seemed overpriced (R253 for 500). You also don't need to buy a ready made bin, which are overpriced and, I think, way to small for if you're trying to do serious vermicomposting. We used the bins we shipped to South Africa, drilled holes, and added newspaper.
If you'd like to start, you're welcome to visit us in Observatory and check out the worm farm- I'm hoping to be able to share the wealth of worms as they multiply.