What Is Vermicomposting?
Vermicomposting- Is the process of using various species of worms, usually red wigglers, white worms, and other earthworms, to create a mixture of decomposing vegetable or food waste, bedding materials, vermicast, and liquid fertilizer (worm juice). Another term for vermicomposting is a worm farm. Using this process turns the waste into a nutrient-rich microorganism solution and solid compost capable of supplying necessary nutrients to help sustain plant growth without the use of harmful chemicals. The vermicomposting method is simple, effective, convenient, and cost-effective. Vermicompost takes trash and turns that trash into a precious resource to reuse.
How To Start Vermicomposting?
First, let’s mention the materials you need to start vermicomposting. The following method is one way to start vermicomposting; there are many options. This method, I have found to be the most effective on breaking down food waste additionally collecting the liquid nutrient fertilizer (worm juice) to get the most out of your vermicomposting system.
- A plastic container with Lid (Suitable to be in contact with food)
- Gravel & Sand (Acting as a Filter)
- Leaves (bedding medium layer)
- Organic Waste (food scraps)
- 2 Air Filters
- Drill & Washers
When you’re looking at the size of the plastic container, it’s best to think one square foot of surface area for each pound of garbage generated per week (2)
Location and Preparation
Now, it’s time to decide where you want to place your compost bin. In the video, you can see my vermicomposting bins are outside in the shade. In John Button’s Video, you can see he has created a shaded palace for his vermicomposting bins.
Additionally, you will want your vermicompost bin elevated, for easier access to be able to place the bucket underneath the faucet.
Now, you can start preparing your vermicompost bins:
- Drill in holes and attach Faucet and Air Filters
- Create a filter for your vermicomposting system add layers gravel, cover the tap. Add Sand!
- Add leaves and twigs to make a bedding medium layer between the soil and the filter. Wash out the filter by adding water to the water flushes out of the tap
- Add good hummus
- Add manure
- Now you can add your worms
- Cover with leaves or straw and let them be for ten days
Care Of Worms
Please make sure to feed your worms at least once a week. One pound of worms will eat about four pounds of food scraps a week (2). If you’re starting to get a bad odor, you’re feeding the worms a too much; the smell will go away if you aerate the compost material and add carbon material like straw, wood chips and, cardboard. It’s the anaerobic condition or nitrogen excess that is causing that smell. Worms love cardboard as nothing else!
It’s the anaerobic condition or nitrogen excess that is causing that smell.
I have mentioned beneficial insects in a different blog post let me mention that you may find other beneficial insects and other organisms in your vermicomposting bin, helping to break down the organic waste.
What Can You Add To Your Compost Bin?
Worms love to eat and break down organic waste. Please feed the worms the following items:
- Non-Citrus fruits
- Egg Shells
- Coffee Grounds
- Tea Bags
- Paper including coffee filters
- Garden waste
What Can’t You Add To Your Compost Bin?
Please avoid the following items in your compost bin:
- Big pieces of organic waste
- Citrus fruits
- Dairy Products
- Processed Foods/Fried Foods
- Tobacco Products
- Glossy paper or Magazines
Vermicompost: Final Product and MicroOrganisms
The final result of vermicomposting and your worm farm is the breakdown of waste and production of nutrient-rich compost. Vermicast (also called worm castings, worm humus, worm manure, or worm feces) is the end-product of the breakdown of organic matter by earthworms. These castings have been shown to contain reduced levels of contaminants and a higher saturation of nutrients than the organic materials before vermicomposting (1). Soon I am going to write a comprehensive blog post on Effective Microorganisms. So keep an eye out for that! I spray Effective Microorganisms into the vermicompost pile. I then use the collected ‘juice’ from vermicompost, dilute the collected microorganism solution with water. Spread the solution throughout your plants as a chemical-free fertilizer.
WORMS WORMS WORMS
In my interview with Tricia Wilkes, I went over spending my last 250 Euros on worms. The best decision I have ever made.
Replenish The Soil
The rebuilding of the natural capital of the earth has to be everyone’s top priority and moral obligation. Vermicomposting and worms help save the water supply, energy, landfills, and to replenish the soil in a natural ecosystem of Permaculture.