Vermicomposting or Worm Composting
Gardener's just love worms. We know worms are like a 24-hour factory, constantly
churning out product. That product is rich worm compost, or vermicompost.
The raw material is vegetable waste, including kitchen scraps. That means
worms play an important role in the "Going Green" effort. They help
reduce yard and kitchen waste that would otherwise go to the local landfill.
Worm Trivia: Scoleciphobia is the fear of worms
Did you know? Some insecticides are harmful to worms. Among them is
Sevin, a popular garden insecticide.
Unraveling Confusing Terms:
Common terms used in worm composting and vermicomposting are often
confusing. That's simply because many terms are synonymous. Let's take the
confusion out of these terms:
Worm Composting = Vermicomposting: This is the process of using
worms to convert vegetable matter into a rich manure.
Worm Farm: This is the location, or container where your worms live
and perform the process of vermicomposting. Whether you know it or not, a
compost pile in your garden is a natural worm farm.
Worm Castings = Worm Compost = Vermicompost: That's right, these
three terms describe the very same thing. Worm castings is the excrement
of worms. It is one of the richest of all manures.
We will use the terms interchangeably, to help you get used to them.
How to grow a Worm Farm:
You can put just about any garden vegetable matter into a worm farm.
You can feed just about any vegetable kitchen scrap to your worms. This includes
coffee grinds and the coffee filter, tea bags and egg shells. It is suggested
that you rinse the egg shells first.
Do not put meats or dairy products into your farm.
Provide your worm farm with a regular supply of "food", and they will happily
work for you. It's as easy as that.
Worms are accustomed to the dark, damp, and cool environment under your soil.
Keep your farm out of the heat, and out of direct sunlight. Place your worm
composter in a shaded area of your yard. You worm farm should not be allowed
to get hot.
Also, check the moisture content of the material inside your worm farm. It
should be moist. Allow for drainage at the bottom.
Did you Know? Worms consume about 50 % of their weight in food each
Worm farms can be created from just about any container. Plastic containers
are perhaps the most durable. Metal containers, or boxes, can get too hot,
if left in a sunny location. Wooden boxes can rot quickly.
Best Worms for Vermicomposting:
Any and all varieties of worms. (there are many varieties) create vermicompost.
Some are more efficient than others.
Red wigglers are the best for farms. Like other varieties, they are very
efficient. Red wigglers tolerate crowding in a farm. And, importantly, they
do not burrow, like many other varieties of worms. Rather, they eat their
way up through a pile of compost, leaving compost behind as they move upwards.
This makes harvesting the vermicomposting an easier task.
Did you Know? Worms are on the diet of skunks, raccoons, and a few
other wild animals.
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