Setting Up a Compost Bin
I’ve had several questions about composting in the classroom and since our red worms just arrived on Thursday I took several pictures of us putting it together.
First you need a sturdy container. I wrote a grant through DonorsChoose.org and had it funded to get mine. I have read about others who have used those large plastic storage containers and drilled some holes into the top of the sides (but not too big or your worms will escape–think thumb tack sized holes) for ventilation.
Here is a picture of my bin:
It does have a lid, but it is not on in this picture.
To set up your compost bin, you will need some soil (with no additives at all). I used Miracle Grow Organic Potting Soil (no white fertilizer beads). You will also need some leaves or grass/flower clippings and a little bit of “food” (orange peels, coffee grounds, egg shells, bananas, apples, etc.), anything organic–no meats and no dairy (ever!!)
Put the soil in the bottom of the bin and cover with leaves/grass clippings. Mix well. Add your redworms (no earthworms, red worms…you can either get them from a fishing/tackle store or I get mine from Carolina Biological Supply).
Add the worms:
Add your food for the worms. They will all quickly dive for darkness!
Each time you add new food (gradually increase the amount so you do not overwhelm them!), make sure you mix it in or you will get fruit flies (ask me how I know!!). If you do happen to get fruit flies, cut sheets of newspaper (black and white only) into one inch wide strips and cover the remainder or the space between the compost and the lid. Leave the bin closed completely for one to two months and that should take care of the problem.
I use a shovel to mix and the kids usually do that after I have shown them how. I think it’s also important to read some great books that go along with composting, so the kids can see what it happening below the soil:
I’m not an expert on Composting, but this is what has worked well for me! There is a great book called “Worms Eat My Garbage” that you can get and there is a teacher’s guide available by the same author for use in the classroom.
I’m tagging this post with “compost”. If you click on the blue tag below, it will show you more things we have done with the compost bin.