Gorham hobbyist visits county festival to teach benefits of worm composting

Published: Jun. 1, 2023 at 11:18 AM EDT
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GRAND ISLE, Maine (WAGM) - Gorham hobbyist Jock Robie made the five-and-a-half-hour trip to Grand Isle Saturday to teach locals about the benefits of worm composting.

Robie began his journey in composting in 2008, an interest he developed from his father.

“My dad was doing this back in the 1980′s, and he interested me, but I was busy with my family and my work and so forth,” Robie said “When I retired, I took it up seriously.”

He now travels around and teaches workshops like this one on the subject, hoping to reel people in to the untraditional method.

“What it is, is simply composting food and vegetable scraps from the kitchen, in a worm bin, which is set up inside the house, and the food scraps go into it,” Robie said. “After about three or four months of feeding a worm bin, you then have to harvest the worm castings. The worm castings are what you then feed to plants, and the plants benefit from the worm castings tremendously.”

Robie starts beginners with a single bin and 100 worms, but over time that number multiplies, allowing you to expand your worm farm if necessary. He says it takes around six bins for the full disposal needs of an average household.

The method is superior to typical composting, Robie said, because of the microbes and fungi that accompany the worms.

“If somebody’s already composting, I wouldn’t discourage them, tell them to stop,” Robie said. “But this gives you a premium product, something that’s better than the regular compost product, because it has a living component that’s really good for the plants, that the hot composting that you do traditionally actually kills off many of the microbes that are beneficial to the plants.”

He says that there are several difficulties with managing worm bins, including foul smells or escaping worms, but in the long run you will see great benefits in your plants.