The Novice’s Guide to Composting, Part I

I started composting a bit over a year ago, and since then, I have obviously told everyone and anyone who will listen about my worms. I collect leftover food from crafty to feed my worms on weeks my household doesn’t have enough food waste. I collect all the coffee cup holders from coffee runs on whatever show I work on to feed my worms. I shred up boxes and papers so my worms never go hungry. I collect my cat’s hair to throw in too.

And, I never thought I would say this, but I’m kind of emotionally attached to my worms now. There’s so many of them (over 2,000) and I would never be able to tell how they’re each individually doing, but I’m always worried if it goes too long without seeing them at all. I don’t always see them – because my compost systems are buried in the ground, they’re often out exploring the world around the compost rather than in the compost itself.

Now, while I do have a yard, I don’t really have a garden so my compost (of which the worms haven’t produced that much yet) don’t have a lot of places to go, but it was still important to me to compost because:

  1. Reducing food waste. My relationship with food is very questionable. I rarely go grocery shopping, and when I do, I often forget what I have in the fridge and it goes bad. Or I don’t eat it fast enough or whatever. So instead of throwing it away, my worms get to eat it. It stays out of the landfill, and I feel less bad about throwing away food. This is also true for the unconsumed parts of food – apple cores, carrot butts, potato peels, etc.
  2. I have a lot of compost for one day when I do have a garden. Which may or may not actually happen, but it is something I’m interested in!
  3. It’s better for the environment. Less food waste (and paper waste) ends up in landfills, which also reduced greenhouse gas emissions.
  4. Worms are such a low key pet. You feed them once a week with scraps from the table that you wouldn’t eat anyway, and they’re totally happy!

When I first decided to compost, I was researching all types of composters, whether or not I needed worms (which I thought were gross, and still kinda do, tbh). Long story short, I settled on the Subpod system, first starting with a mini, and then getting a regular size one because we were producing much more food waste than anticipated. I ended up with a Subpod because it could be buried straight into the ground and benefit my existing soil. For smaller spaces, or apartments/housing without yards, the Subpod can also be buried into a planter bed. Plants and vegetables can be planted around the Subpod, which benefits directly and immediately from the compost. It was also very easy to set up, and apart from digging the holes to put the systems in, took very little time. The starter kit also comes with an aerator and a worm blanket, all necessary things to turn the compost and keep it at a constant temperature.

The Subpod system uses worm compositing, so then I needed to get worms, which was a whole other journey. Turns out worms can be shipped straight to you! That was a weird concept though, and I always like to support local, so I found a local worm farm in LA (Will’s Worms) that is run by the cutest little kids. They have worms and composting in their backyard, and will explain all the benefits and how-tos of composting to you. Which I probably won’t be able to do as well or as comprehensively, so you should really hop over to their page to check them out!