“We got worms” at the University of Minnesota

Find your worms online
The Student Organic Farm at the University of Minnesota is among the growing number of organizations and everyday people that want to scream, “I got worms.”

Now these worms, thankfully, are not intestinal parasites that eat all the nutrients in our bowels.  But they do eat all the nutrients that we throw away in the bin.

Composting has become a thriving movement across the country to reduce the waste going into landfills and to instead feed our neighborhood gardens, farms, houseplants, or just add topsoil to the back yard. 

So how do compost and worms actually work?

And who the heck wants to have a “gross” bin full of worms in their home?  And, I don’t have a garden or a yard so why and how should I compost?

Myth Busters 101: Worm bins are like fast food, cheap and easy.  They do not smell bad when taken proper care of.  Proper care is easy. You will find a use for the soil your worms make and you will love it. And best of all, you will help reduce the 34 million tons of food waste produced in the US annually.

Find your bin online
Step one:  You know you have a plastic container somewhere in your home.  Find that container.  If you really don’t have one, they can be ordered online from many distributors or purchased at a local all-purpose store. It can be small or big depending on how much food scraps you toss out or how much space you have. 

Find your coconut coir online
Step two:  You need bedding.  Coconut coir is the best.  You can purchase coconut coir online from many sources, or find it at local gardening shops.  All you have to do is fill the bin ½ with coir and add water so the coir feels like a wrung out sponge

Step three:  Find your red wigglers.  Red wigglers are the little worms that are king at composting. In the Twin Cities, you can find red wigglers at Amelia Flower and Garden shoppe; you can also order your worms online.  There are dozens of sites dedicated to worm composting. Put your worms in the bin.  You are allowed to use gloves if they creep you out.

Step four:  Shred newspaper and cover worms like a nice warm blanket for your new little baby king composters.  Take that apple core or whatever scraps you have and put them under the newspaper.  Check back in a week. No more apple. Like magic!   

Step five:  Do nothing.  Go about your life as normal but instead of throwing things in the garbage, toss ’em to the worms.

You know what you just did?  You became a part of a movement toward sustainable agriculture and a healthier living soil.  I’m proud of you.  I know you will find a use for your rich new soil.

Cheers to the king composters.

Elizabeth Mattingly
University of Minnesota
College of Food, Agriculture, and Natural Resource Sciences


  1. This is great. They help in making organic fertilizer for the plants.

  2. Can't wait to start composting with my own wormies.