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This past summer, I found myself in a rundown country gas station (which also sells homemade biscuits and liquor, among other things) buying several containers of fishing worms for our daughter. Keeping one eye out for the unsavory locals who are usually interested in bumming a couple of bucks (or worse), I quickly picked out three round blue containers of worms for the not-so-cheap price of $10 total. (It is just worms and dirt, after all).

Standing out at the dock back at our farm, I opened the first container of worms to bait up her hook. Running my fingers through the black dirt yielded a nasty surprise: no worms.

Second container: No worms.

Third container: No worms.

So, an hour and $10 later, we were no closer to fishing than we were before. Apparently it's a known problem that people swap empty worm containers at stores like this and you're supposed to check them first. Determined never to be caught wormless again, Brent and I surfed onto faithful ole Amazon.com, where we are very loyal "Prime" members, and ordered the Worm Factory 360 Worm Composter and 1,000 red wigglers from Uncle Jim's Worm Farm. You simply haven't lived until you've bought red wiggler worms through the mail.

Since then, we have been "vermicomposting," or worm composting, which basically means letting red wiggler worms do the hard work of composting kitchen scraps for you. The Worm Factory 360 comes with everything you need to assemble the worm farm, plus detailed instructions for care and maintainance. Once each "processing tray" fills up with nutrient-rich black worm castings, you can add the castings to your garden and start up a new tray. Virtually anything can go in the bins - just no meat or dairy. The worms naturally move upwards as you add more trays to find food, and there is no smell and very little work involved. Now we have an excellent worm compost source for our garden and a virtually endless supply of fishing worms for our little girl. Never again will we be victims of worm extortion at the hands of the local gas station!

Has anyone else out there tried their hand at composting with worms instead of outside in traditional bins?