Vermicomposting in Tight Spaces

By Tyler Weaver

Worm factory compost binBalcony container gardeners who want to start treating container plants to some quality potting soil can choose from several methods of composting in tight spaces. If you are able to compost on a balcony, there are several options available, such as purchasing a compost tumbler or building one from just two buckets. These are ideal for keeping waste neat while requiring minimal effort to keep them going. A periodic turn of the barrel or stirring with a stick is all that's needed.


Vermicomposting is very similar to regular composting – avoid adding meat, dairy, fish and also garden waste. This leaves food scraps and plenty of shredded paper and cardboard as the red worms' diet. The castings produced by worms makes exceptional compost to use on plants. Several commercially available vermicomposting units are available, such as the Worm Factory (click on the picture to the right for more information about the Worm Factory) or Worm Inn models. Both vermicomposting units have great customer reviews and are user-friendly. They can be a bit costly, but do have their advantages over homemade systems. These systems remain neat and keep the worms happy.

Indoor vermicomposting. If outdoor composting isn't an option, the best indoor technique is vermicomposting. While the process requires some attention, once the compost bin is up and running for some time, it becomes second nature and will reward you with great compost for the container plants in your garden. Another benefit to indoor vermicomposting is that it works year 'round in cold climates. It also doesn't take up much space – the only room indoor vermicomposting requires is a bit of counter space, in a closet or under the kitchen sink.

Worm care issues. Moisture levels are a concern for the red worms, so they need attention on a weekly basis to ensure they don't dry out.  If you add contents to the system regularly, chances are that moisture won't be a problem. Fruit flies are insect pests that may also be attracted to a worm system. Build a trap using a jar containing apple cider vinegar and dish soap to help keep them at bay. See the video below to see how you can make a fruit fly trap for under two dollars.

If balcony composting isn't an option, indoor vermicomposting is not much to worry about. It's a fun and rewarding process that creates great conversation with your friends and great castings for the container plants in your garden.



Tyler Weaver is a Waste Reduction Specialist and owns and Read more composting tips from Tyler and more small-space composting methods.

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