Book Review: The Complete Guide to Working with Worms.

(I am linking to Roses and Other Gardening Joys‘ April Book Reviews!  Head on over there to peruse all of the wonderful titles and reviews by participating bloggers!).


Those of you who have been following my blog for awhile now may remember that I constructed a vermicomposting bin in February of last year (you can read about it here).  Unfortunately, several months into my project, I inadvertently caused an imbalance in my new bin and the entire set-up experienced Catastrophic Worm Failure in the early fall.  I didn’t give up, however, and my vermicomposting efforts are back on track, with far greater success than before.  My worms gobble down a huge portion of the kitchen scraps my hubby and I generate every week, and everything is now functioning as it should.

Whether you’re a newbie or an old hand at keeping worms for composting, Wendy Vincent’s book The Complete Guide to Working With Worms:  Using the Gardener’s Best Friend for Organic Gardening and Composting (2012, Atlantic Publishing Group, Inc., Florida), is a good resource guide.  Vincent wasn’t kidding with her lengthy title:  this is indeed a “complete” guide.   Her book covers everything you’ll need to know about the wriggly workers –  from setting up a worm habitat to keeping the little critters happy in their new digs.  Feeding, care, and harvesting necessarily warrant their own chapters, and there is an excellent section devoted to troubleshooting tips.  Vincent carefully compares traditional composting methods with vermicomposting and while she advocates using both types simultaneously if possible, she encourages the use of vermicomposting in small residential and commercial spaces, locations that may not support traditional composting.   Through “Family Activities,” Vincent  shows how fun it is to share the vermicomposting experience with children, and there are entertaining worm facts, science, and history sprinkled throughout the book.   Finally, Vincent also covers how to set up a small business selling excess populations of worms.

Although comprehensive, The Complete Guide to Working With Worms is extremely accessible – there’s no bogging down in technical detail or arcane knowledge.  It is easy to read, understand, and follow.  While the book is short on photos, there are some small black and white images included, and tables and diagrams where required to illustrate concepts such as building a worm bin.  (It’s probably not necessary to have full page, glossy colour worm action shots, anyway!).   😉   This is a title I would definitely keep in my library and recommend to anyone considering vermicomposting to help nourish the garden.  It’s also a fabulous source of information for teachers wanting to start up a worm bin in the classroom.

Do you keep working worms, or would you consider doing so?  Do you have a traditional compost bin instead? 

If you’ve already got a wormery set up, check out this great article about feeding your worms – it even includes some delicious desserts to treat your workers with!


  1. I was just thinking about worms today! O.K., only a gardener could say that with a straight face. But, I would love to try something like that. I would have never guessed that there would have been a great book on the subject. Thanks so much for bringing this book to my attention. It’s now on my “must read” list! And thanks for joining in!

    • Thanks so much once again for hosting! 🙂

      I do think that if you’re interested in vermicomposting that this may be the book for you – I particularly like the way it is written. Very straightforward and rather fun.

  2. I have a vermipost that I created because I use it with my students when I teach the unit titled “Waste and Our World”. I bring it into the classroom and the students take it apart and examine this unique environment with their magnifying glasses studying the worms and the contents. I have to admit that I am quite lax about keeping it maintained. I keep it in the garage all winter and I just throw some kitchen veggie scraps and newspaper strips every so often. My worms are really thriving. Thanks for sharing this post about this resource. i really have to read a lot more about vermiposts so that I really know what I am doing. ~Thea

    • That’s wonderful that you use vermicomposting in the classroom; I think it’s such a good thing for children to experience first-hand. Because the worms work so quickly, the students can see the transformation from food scraps to compost without waiting forever.

  3. Sounds like a great book. I’m still hesitant about keeping worms, and my compost bin works pretty well anyway. I get two good loads of compost a year if all goes well, and it never smells – even in a heatwave – despite standing in the sun. We get slow-worms warming themselves in there in the spring – always gives me a little fright when I open it and see them on the top, as they resemble snakes!

  4. The County of Strathcona near Sherwood Park just east of Edmonton had a composting pickup. A giant green bin alternate weeks from garbage pickup. I also had a composter but it filled up sooooo fast (we had a huge yard). Alys at Gardening Nirvana has a worm thingy in her yard. I’ll have to get some photo’s of it when I visit.

    • The City of Calgary is doing some sort of pilot program with compost pick-up and last I heard, it was all going well. Only some neighbourhoods have it right now. As apartment dwellers, we won’t be able to participate, so vermicomposting is the best thing I can do (besides bokashi, but I’m not brave enough to get into that yet). Alys is fortunate that she can keep her worm bin out in the yard, she must have a sheltered spot for it somewhere.

  5. Congratulations on your successful vermicomposting endeavor! And thank you for posting a great book review and the related sites. I have not tried vermicomposting although I am an avid composter. I always say that my worms are “free range.”

  6. I popped over from the book review. I plan to set up a worm bin. Calgary Recycling used to have a demonstration set up, not sure if they still have it. The castings were beautiful, from a gardener’s point of view.

  7. I am familiar with vermicomposting but it doesn’t appeal to me and just use my 3 huge traditional bins outside.
    The review would certainly sell the idea and book to a person wanting to start this method.

    • Thank you so much! I agree with you, vermicomposting is not for everyone, but I hope I’ve encouraged some readers to take a look at the book and maybe try it out for themselves. If you have a lot of material to compost, the traditional method is definitely the way to go, however.

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