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Worms Eat My Garbage: How to Set Up and Maintain a Worm Composting System

4.15  ·  Rating details ·  1,286 ratings  ·  189 reviews
For more than three decades, this best-selling guide to the practice of vermicomposting has taught people how to use worms to recycle food waste into nutrient-rich fertilizer for houseplants or gardens. Small-scale, self-contained worm bins can be kept indoors, in a basement or even under the kitchen sink in an apartment — making vermicomposting a great option for city dwe ...more
Paperback, 35th Anniversary Edition, 192 pages
Published December 26th 2017 by Storey Publishing, LLC (first published 1982)
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Joanne Olszewski It is difficult to tell these two different species apart. DNA barcoding will correctly identify E. fetida but will sometimes identify E. andrei as E.…moreIt is difficult to tell these two different species apart. DNA barcoding will correctly identify E. fetida but will sometimes identify E. andrei as E. fetida. Both are good composting worms with the E. andrei being a little bit better. Since it is difficult to tell them apart you might receive some E.andrei when you order E. fetida(less)
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Average rating 4.15  · 
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 ·  1,286 ratings  ·  189 reviews

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Jul 16, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: growing, 2009
Ok this book is hella old but guess what? Worms are older and they haven't changed since this book was written so the book looks adorably dated, but the information is so perfectly totally relevant.

So I checked this out from the library, bought about a pound of worms from the Olympia Farmers market, and set up a couple buckets of rotting garbage in my basement. I have since turned into a total garbage-o-phile. I mean, i am feeding my worms cardboard macaroni boxes and trying to name them all. (
Aug 11, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I checked this book out from the library approximately 59,120 times. It's very thorough, but not necessary very "quick and dirty". There's talk of buying worm bins, making your own worm bins, but only the DIY wooden worm bin instructions seemed super step-by-step. And no way I'm building a wooden worm bin that's gonna decompose in a few years on account of excess moisture, etc. I'm a recipe girl, I like following directions.

Exact. Directions.

So, to REALLY get me started, I needed THIS:
Jan 25, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The original book from the olden days, but even better. Updated for the times.
I have composted before, but haven't had much luck with regular composting. Raccoons, coyotes, rodents, my own dogs were attracted to the bin. Suspicious neighbors wondered what the hippie was doing back there.
Well, you can keep worms in your house! Under your kitchen sink, in the basement, etc.
This book is the bible of worm composting. It teaches you many different methods so you can tailor them to your household'
Aug 03, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
After reading this very quick book I felt I knew enough to get started feeding my garbage to worms - it is a very good start to that, and enough to get you to where you can figure out what you need to do.

This is fussy, but one thing just baffles me about this book. At one point she knocks down people that grind up their food for the worms because it is an inappropriate use of energy and it contradicts some of the intention of having a worm bin. Ok, the existence of hand operated grinders slipped
Feb 13, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow. I added this to my "currently reading" list about three hours ago, and just spent three hours becoming totally psyched about starting my own worm bin. If you register for the vermicomposting class through Hamilton County's Department of Environmental Services, this is the book that comes along with the bin and worms and so forth. I didn't make the deadline for the class, but a friend from school took it a few years ago and let me borrow her book. Anyway, the book is so great that I think I ...more
Dec 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley
Originally published on my blog: Nonstop Reader.

The re-release of a classic first published 35 years ago, Worms Eat My Garbage has everything that the beginner to advanced vermicomposter needs to know to make a thriving habitat for earthworms to compost the organic waste produced by an average family.

The book is full of fun illustrations and easy to read and understand instructions. It's impossible to overstate the importance of shepherding our resources and reusing, recycling, repairing the
Jun 08, 2020 rated it liked it
I’m giving this little book three stars for a few reasons.
I love composting. It’s fascinating to be able to convert lemon peels, onion skins, eggshells and coffee grounds into soil.
I freeze my ass off going out to the composted all winter. So I’d like to have a worm bin in my basement. ‘This book teaches you everything you need to know to get started on worm composting.
As an avid gardener, I want everything to do with natural husbandry.
This book is old. It was written almost forty years ago, an
Edwin Dalorzo
Mar 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wonderful introduction

This book is very well written. The advice in its pages, isn't only highly educative but also immediately practical. I can easily tell the author is an experienced vermicomposter, one that is also very passionate and knowledgable about the subject. Some of that same passion reaches to us, her readers, which is magnificent, because that is the kind of companionship and motivation many of us need to get into the world of vermicomposting. Using this advice I have already start
Dec 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is a comprehensive guide to worm raising. It contains information on buying/building a place for your worms to live, what to feed worms, what types of worms to use, how to use worm tea and pretty much anything you might want to know about composting with worms. The one down side of the book is that it makes worm composting seem so easy that I am not sure if I will need the book for long after I get things started.
Apparently if you bury avocado pits in your worm bin that will help them germinate!
Aug 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
Quick but relatively comprehensive read. Most references are to the USA, and the book uses imperial unit system, which made the reading slightly less intuitive and enjoyable.
Jan 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Lots of good info! Can’t wait to start my work bin! I might have to add this book to my collection.
Joe Bartmann
Apr 11, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I’m back in the worm farmer world! Set up my bin today, after a four year hiatus.

Still the best guide to vermicomposting out there. So well researched and simple as a how to guide.
Feb 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Informative and helpful! Lots of useful tips of keeping care of my worm babies with interesting science and ecology!
Several years ago I stumbled across vermicomposting. I became immediately interested. I soon purchased this book, a box, and a textbook. Soon after that we began keeping worms in the classroom. What a wonderful hobby!

This book is an excellent introduction to the hobby. I believe it is considered the bible of vermicomposting.
I have been raising worms in the classroom for a number of years, but it waned the last couple. As I read around the 'Net, I have revamped how I will raise worms this yea
Oct 28, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Thank you, Ms. Appelhof, for sharing your gifts with us. Not only is this book efficient and informative, it is actually entertaining. I laughed, I learned, I set up a compost bin. Anyone seeking to do the same would be well-served by picking up this little tome.
Jun 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Five stars, because while it is really detailed it isn't difficult to digest the information, or retain it.
DelAnne Frazee
Sep 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
Title: Worms Eat My Garbage, 35th Anniversary Edition: How to Set Up and Maintain a Worm Composting System: Compost Food Waste, Produce Fertilizer for Houseplants ... Garden, and Educate Your Kids and Family
Author: Mary Appelhof & Joanne Olszewski
Publisher: Storey Publishing
Published: 12-26 2017
Pages: 160
Genre: How To
Sub-Genre: Home & Garden, Soil Science, Crop Science, Insect and Spiders, Nonfiction, Aggricultural Science,
ISBN: 9781612129471
Reviewed For NetGalley and Storey Publ
Let me tell you, I love this book. Just about anything published by Storey Publishing is a great investment if you are a homesteader, small farm owner, gardener, and basically a person needing to know how to do something for yourself. The Worms Eat My Garbage, 35th Anniversary Edition is easy to understand, fun to read and can even teach an old dog new tricks. It has a skill level for what you are wanting to use the worms for, be it wrigglers for fishing or casings for your garden and explains w ...more
Oct 08, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book helped me get my worms started. There was a lot of information that didn't interest me, like a whole chapter on other bugs that can live in your compost. There were a few incorrect usages of words/spelling errors (using "then" instead of "than") which surprised me, being that this book is in its 3rd edition. I had to skip and skim a lot to get the information I was looking for. She's got it down to a science which is awesome, but I really don't think I will be building a bin with the e ...more
Sally Austin
May 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Back in March, I attended a class at the library on vermicomposting, which is what prompted me to read this book. For those that don't know what vermicomposting is, it is composting by feeding your food scraps to worms. I've composted for most of my life, but this is my first worm composter. This amazingly informative book is the best pick for anyone that would be interested in the subject. There were even a few tips for regular composting, too. With this book you can delve into the lives of wor ...more
Rebecca Bond
Apr 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is such a great resource! I just happened to check this out from the library and start vermicomposting in a small DIY bin in my apartment for the first time at the start of all of the distancing measures. I read it start to finish to get a good base of knowledge but it has been really handy to consult as I learn. Even though the book warned that there would be other critters in my bin at some point like mites it was still a bit startling to notice for the first time, so it was comforting to ...more
Jul 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is a great book! This is the third book I've read on vermicomposting and it's my favorite! The author is both friendly and passionate about her subject and she includes loads of useful information. The friendly worm drawings gave the book a fun and approachable feel, but I was disappointed (as I have been with other vermicomposting books) that there were not many pictures of what I should actually expect to see in my bin. It's an easy read that I'd recommend first to anyone interested in th ...more
Jan 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Short, simple. I read this book after I started a vermicomposting bin in my basement. It said much of the same things I had learned on worm composting websites, but did add a few good tips, such as how much food to add for how many worms, or how big the bin, etc. She also includes some building plans for different styles of outdoor bins. If you're interested in using worms to efficiently compost your kitchen food waste, read this book, but also pay attention to other sources of information as we ...more
Erica Shannon
Dec 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
You'll be crazy for worms before it's all over. This book explains everything there is to know about worms. Before you know it you'll be down in the dirt identifying body parts and cheering for the arrival of your new baby worms. My worm farm ran into a hiccup with mites and this book had a section just for pests. Turns out mites are normal, it's the population count that counts, which is affected by too many nitrogen rich foods. This book will give you the knowledge to tackle worm farming. It's ...more
Feb 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
Easy to read, instructions were explained very well. Information was just was I needed to start a worm farm with the grandkids. Pictures were great. It wasn't so scientific that I got lost but gave me enough new information that I felt like I was learning something without being overwhelmed. Some vermiculture books delve into composting, classroom applications, recycling, getting away from society... This book mostly sticks to just vermiculture, the last chapter is a short one on recycling-easil ...more
Aug 24, 2019 rated it liked it
Lots of information on how to care for worms in a single flat tray, mostly outside. All good stuff if that is the approach you are going for, but i was hoping to learn more about tired systems and tips of keeping it indoors since we don't have much shady + warm space outside.

If anyone has a book recommendation that covers tired worm bin systems I would really appreciate a comment. - Thank you!
Aug 23, 2017 rated it liked it
An enthusiastic, readable and surprisingly comprehensive guide to worm composting, from setting up a box to selecting appropriate worms to how and where to use the compost. A great guide.

*Thanks to NetGalley for the ARC, provided by the author and/or the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Victoria Peipert
Oct 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Excellent comprehensive and enjoyable to read guide for worm composting (yes, there are other types of composting!). This is a tremendous educational resource that is digestible, easy to understand, accompanied by great illustrations, and encouraging for entry into the practice of composting.
Feb 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Absolutely fascinating! I'm going to try vermicomposting as soon as I gather the materials.

Appelhof really lays out everything you need to know, and there seems to be such high rewards for a relatively low-maintenance practice!
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Mary Arlene Appelhof (1936-2005) was an American biologist, vermicomposter, and environmentalist. In 2009 she was designated a Women's History Month Honoree by the National Women's History Project.

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