Composting is the process by which kitchen scraps and other types of waster are converted into fertile, dark soil that no only smells like natural earth, but also acts the same. Vermicomposting is different from regular composting in that it relies on the workings of worms to break down the materials contained within.
Consisting of almost purely worm castings, this type of compost is known in the organic world as super compost. In addition to the rich nutrients that most compost contains, there is the added advantage of being loaded with microorganisms that are not only what creates the soil but maintains its healthiness as well.
When it comes to vermicomposting, the main benefits include:
- Providing vital nutrients to the soil.
- Increases the ability of the soil to hold these nutrients in a plant-available form.
- Soil structure is significantly improved.
- It can help with the aeration and drainage in soils, such as heavy clay.
- Sandy soils have an increase in water-holding ability.
- Provides multiple types of beneficial bacteria.
As vermicompost, in most cases, is made in small, modest quantities, it is primarily used in the top or side dressing for those plants that are the most demanding or deserving. When mixed with regular compost, vermicompost can provide a significant boost to your garden soil. If you are needing to revigorated your container plants, outside or inside, add vermicompost to your potting soil. If your vermicompost is correctly conditioned, it will present with a slight natural smell, and will be very suitable for use indoors.
Almost Maintenance Free
As it turns out, worms are low maintenance little workers and require minimal attention. You won’t ever need to worry about when to feed them every day, and they are in no way noisy. As for their bins, those will only need cleaning every three to six months at the most. Using worms to compost has a two-fold advantage, it serves as a wonderful food for your plants, and it is a green source that is good for the planet as well, as it works to keep kitchen scraps and organic waste out of the garbage, which in turn reduces the need for landfills.
The Materials Needed
You probably already have the first materials—that of your kitchen scraps. In addition to these, you will need a container, some bedding, and the essential element in the process—worms!
When determining how many bins you will need, whether it be one or more, as well as the overall amount of worms to house in those bins, will depend mainly on the among of kitchen waste you generate. A good rule of thumb, is that you keep a record for several weeks of just how much, in volume and weight, suitable kitchen waster that your household produces. Gathering this information, you will be better able to determine just how large or small your vermicomposting setup should be.
A Worm Is A Worm
This maybe your current thought process when deciding on the type of worm to use. However, it is vital to know that not all worms are created equal. For instance, vermicomposting will not work if you are using your typical yard dwelling nightcrawlers. Not only does this type of worm need to work their way through dirt, to both eat and survive, they are not the type to dine on organic waste.
Those small worms you find, when working in your garden or your landscaping, are the type to be used either. These types of worms are deep-soil dwellers, unlike those worms earmarked for vermicomposting, which prefer a more shallow surface of earth.
The worms you will need for your vermicomposting are those of red wigglers, or as some refer to thm—manure worms. A typical red wiggler is capable of eating its weight in garbage every day, multiply like rabbits, and can survive most varieties of feeding conditions. These types of worms also have the advantage that they do quite well in compost bins. Make sure that when you order your worms, in order for them to survive and get the job at hand done, you need to use a dependable and reputable supplier.
How Many Worms?
So, now the question is, how many of these red wigglers will I need? Many seasoned experts believe and suggest a ration of 1:1. This equates out to one pound or approximately 1000 worms to one pound of daily garbage. Some go so far as to suggest two pounds, or 2000 worms, to each pound of waste.
It is important to keep in mind, that like mentioned above, worms multiple at the same rate as rabbits. If supplied with an adequate amount of food, and provided a good home, your red wigglers can double their population every 90 days.
We suggest you start small and slow, with fewer worms than you think you’ll need. Then, given time and proper care, you will soon find your worm population taking care of the rest.
Types Of Bins
When it comes to the bin to house your worms in, most are easy to use as well as efficient. You can choose a commercially produced bin, or if you are handy, you can choose to build your own.
Commercially available bins are available in styles that may be used inside or outside of the home. The most commonly used form is the stacking bins. These, as the name suggests, stack on top of one another. Starting with the bottom bin, when each tray is full, you will move the food, bedding, and worms to the next tray up. Since they are stackable, the worms have the option to migrate to the next level. When they have finished their work in the bin below, it can be removed and emptied and placed back on top of the stack. As long as the bins are left empty of food, the worms will not be attracter or proceed to move back in.
Composting is a good source of fertilizer for amending gardens and plants. However, if you are looking to give your plants a significant boost, nothing beats that of compost produced by vermicomposting.