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Vermicomposting: Here's the Scoop!

worms in soil

Did you know that worms are nature's recyclers? Vermicomposting is the process of composting food waste with worms. One pound of worms can turn 65 pounds of garbage into garden compost in 100 days. This result often referred to as "black gold," is thought to be one of the best fertilizers for vegetables and other potted plants. Worm composting reduces garbage entering landfills and improves garden soils while providing families with a fun and rewarding activity that you can do at home. According to Alex Burbach, Extension Program Coordinator, "Vermicomposting is a great way for the youth of all ages to gain knowledge about the composting process, to see how we can recycle certain food waste, which in turn puts nutrients back into the soil to nurture plants that we can then consume for nutrients again."

The Jo Daviess County Extension office will offer vermicomposting kits to ANY youth in the county, free of charge. 4-H membership is not required to participate. Common garden worms are not the best for the job, so your kit will include live worms that will be perfect for your vermicomposting bins! Each kit will contain a container, bedding, coffee grounds, eggshells, worms, food scraps, and the educational material needed to help you get started. According to Angela Miller, Program Coordinator 4-H Youth Development, "This is a great opportunity for parents or guardians to introduce the idea of environmental stewardship to their children. Vermicomposting is easy and good for the environment."

Register for your kit by calling 815-858-2273 or by visiting The deadline to register is February 15. Participants may pick up their kit February 20-24 at the Extension office, located at 204 Vine St., Elizabeth. Office hours are Monday-Friday, 8 am-4 pm.