Which worm is best for composting?

earthworm on the sidewalk

QUESTION: Which worm is best for composting? Can I just buy some at the bait store, or do they need to be a special kind? I was going to add them to my compost pile. — Ed W

ANSWER: Unless you’re using the vermicomposting method, you don’t need to worry about managing the worms in your compost heap. They’ll crawl in from outside sometimes and will come and go as they please, which is perfectly fine. You don’t need the worms in a regular compost pile, and as a matter of fact, when the pile heats up, the high temperature would kill any worms that were in the heap anyway.

For vermicomposting, the preferred types of worms are red wigglers (Eisenia fetida) and redworms (Lumbricus rubellus).

Where can I get rid of compost?

If you’ve used all the compost you can in your garden, in potted plants, and on your lawn (and you’ve stored some away for later use), you should have no trouble finding someone to take the remainder of it off your hands. If you have friends, family, or neighbors who garden, they will more than likely be willing to take some of your surplus compost off your hands. You can also check with schools that have gardens or community gardens in your area that may be able to put your extra compost to use.

Farms located near you should have plenty of land that they’re growing things on where your compost could be put to good use. Farmer’s markets in some cities have collection locations where you can drop off food waste and compost. Some composters have even turned to websites like Craigslist to sell their excess compost or give it away for free.

However, before you get rid of your compost, you should be certain that you don’t have a use for it yourself. In addition to mixing compost into your soil, you can also layer it on top of your garden beds and use it as a mulch. If you keep horses or cows, compost can be used as bedding for these animals. You can also use compost as you would soil to level out uneven or sloping areas on your property.

Which tea bags can be composted?

paper tea bags can be composted

Tea bags that do not contain plastic are safe for composting. Although you wouldn’t think tea bags use plastic, some companies use the sealing plastic polypropylene to keep the tea bags in one piece. Polypropylene is non-biodegradable, which means it will not break down and should not be used in composting. However, even if the bag uses plastic, you can pour the used tea leaves out of the bag to include in your compost pile.

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Can you compost oranges and lemons?

lemon and orange ready for composting

Yes, putting citrus peels into your compost has many benefits. However, if you are vermicomposting, there are certain worms that prefer not to eat citrus, so adding citrus products to your vermicomposting system can slow down the decomposition process in some cases, but in regular composting systems, adding citrus fruit and peels have many benefits and can and should be added to compost instead of being tossed into the trash. 

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Can you mix sand with compost?


Yes, you can make a great potting soil mix by combining sand and compost — as long as you use the proper sand and mix the two ingredients correctly. First, make sure that the compost you are using is completely broken down by running it through a mesh screen to filter out large pieces that need to be returned to the compost pile to continue breaking down. Only use the smaller compost particles that pass through the screen, as these particles have broken down successfully and are ready for use. 

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