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Let worms do the work in turning food scraps into rich compost

A plastic bin with food scraps, egg shells, compost and worms in it.
Grahamphoto23/Getty Images/iStockphoto
With an indoor worm bin, you can practice vermiculture. Just add kitchen food waste and shredded newspaper to the bin. In a matter of months, the worms will create rich compost to use on your house plants or in your gardens and raised beds next spring.

Vermicomposting uses a certain type of worm to consume kitchen and food scraps and turn it into rich compost. With a simple set-up and some basic practices, you canjoin in the worm compost fun.

And practicing indoor vermicomposting creates compost that you can use on house plants or in your gardens this spring.

First, source the right sort of worms. These are red wigglers and you can purchase them online or sometimes, locally.

The bin size and shape is important, too, so look for one that is about 12 inches deep, wide and long. It needn't be fancy and a plastic bin will do.

Next, drill holes all around the side of the plastic bin. Once you've drilled holes, add in worm bedding in the form of shredded newspapers, paper bags or shredded cardboard.

Moisten the shredded material and then add the worms! Now, each time you've got leftover food scraps from cooking, baking or meals, feed your worms.

To consume the food scraps that a household with two people would produce each week - about three-and-a-half pounds - you'll need a pound of worms in your vermiculture bin.

You can add the scraps to the bin after each meal or gather a week's worth at a time and add it all at once to feed the worms. After about three or four months, you'll have free compost that you can use in your garden for houseplants.

Q: I have three Thanksgiving cacti. They've all bloomed, but one has no buds. Is it possible that it blooms every other year? - Susan, in St. Albans

A: Usually, environmental conditions dictate whether a holiday cactus blooms or not. These cacti like a dark period before they initiate flower buds.

Even at this time of year, you can nudge buds to form on your cactus by placing it in a room that stays dark and cool (around 60 degrees) for 12 to 14 hours at night.

Let your cactus hang out there for two or three weeks. This will help initiate the flower buds.

All Things Gardening is powered by you, the listener! Send your gardening questions and conundrums and Charlie may answer them in upcoming episodes.

You can also leave a voicemail with your gardening question by calling Vermont Public at 1-800-639-2192.

Hear All Things Gardening during Weekend Edition with Vermont Public host Mary Williams Engisch, Sunday mornings at 9:35.

Have questions, comments or tips? Send us a message or get in touch by tweeting us @vermontpublic. We've closed our comments. Read about ways to get in touch here.

Mary Williams Engisch is a local host on All Things Considered.
Charlie Nardozzi is a nationally recognized garden writer, radio and TV show host, consultant, and speaker. Charlie is the host of All Things Gardening on Sunday mornings at 9:35 during Weekend Edition on Vermont Public. Charlie is a guest on Vermont Public's Vermont Edition during the growing season. He also offers garden tips on local television and is a frequent guest on national programs.