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Vermiculture composting (Vermicomposting) is the act of creating rich, organic humus for your garden or lawn by allowing red worms to help in the decomposition process. Make sure these are all chopped or shredded really well as some of them take longer to decompose than leaf litter.
Use a thermometer to monitor temperature in the bins until you get a feel for what external temperature is ideal for your particular set up.A  For our set up, the room temperature is kept at about 65aµ’ in the winter and 72aµ’ in the summer.
Mary Appelhof (deceased) writes in her book Worms Eat My Garbage about burying small amounts of leftover meat on the bone with no ill effects. If those don’t work, mince or puree citrus fruit and add about a tablespoon per 5 gallons compost, incorporate really well into the compost, and add a bit of water. While waiting for the worms to move to the bottom of the pile, hose down and scrub binsA  with a cleaning brush, taking special care to clean the vent holes. Collapsed Veins in a Collapse Playground and Pizza Night 12 Uses for Lemons How Much Longer Can A Failing Empire Afford to Incarcerate So Many People & What That Might Mean for the Rest of Us?
Many of us like the idea of composting but don’t have the yard space to make it happen (I’m looking at you, apartment dwellers!). If your only experience with worms is seeing them on the end of a fishhook or dodging them on the sidewalk after a good rain, you might think all worms are the same.
We know that simply layering leftover lettuce on the garden isn’t enough to get the nutrients to soak into the soil and make your flowers grow.
No matter what material you choose, you’ll need to add air holes to keep the soil aerated, and bedding, usually in the form of newspaper strips, to give the soil structure and maintain moderate humidity in your bin.
Because worms eat bacteria, the real question isn’t what to feed the worms, but what to feed the bacteria! Flies: If you have fruit flies, try burying your new food waste or covering it with a good layer of bedding when you add it. When it comes time to use your earthy black compost you’ll have two options: direct application or compost tea. If you want to keep your worms for another round of composting, you’ll need to separate them from the compost.
Most, if not all, earthworms in your garden are not native to North America, since the last glacial period stripped the soil of most life: they’ve been introduced here from Europe.
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Composting mimics nature’s recycling plan, only it does so on super-warp speed when done right. A compost pile starts out as a diverse pile of “waste.” The easiest compost systems are simply left alone to decompose into rich, smelling garden amendment, while others require a little elbow grease.
Sometimes heat can make sure that you get a composted soil that is rich with beneficial fungi, beneficial bacteria, and earthworms, as well as the enzymes and acids these life-forms release as they multiply.
Not only does adding organic composted soil to your garden help its water-retaining capacity, it also helps to build the immune system of your plants – making your favorite trees, vegetables, flowers, and fruit better able to respond to the challenges presented by a thriving ecosystem – including pesky insects and diseases. It also removes trash that the municipal collection agencies would normally have to retrieve, and which would go to waste. Here are 7 great compost bins that are easy to set up today to start using your ‘waste’ to create your own nutrient-rich ‘black-gold’ soil to add to your gardens. You can put onion skins, coffee grinds, carrot tops, and apple cores in your compost bin for red wigglers to decompose into great compost. Although not traditionally used in the United States, Bokashi is an ancient practice of fermenting food waste by covering it with a mix of microorganisms that suppress odors and eventually creates rich, healthy organic compost. Japanese farmers have always covered food scraps in their rich, regional soil, which contains microorganisms that ferments the food. Many people are hesitant to build a composting system because they are unsure of what materials to use. Using chicken wire and cedar planks – your compost bin can create great soil and also stand the test of time.
Composting involves using a variety of ingredients so that you have a healthy balance of organic ingredients.
Perhaps one of the easiest ways to compost is by creating a simple round bin from wire and a few zip ties.
While best for getting yard wastes to work for you, if you are concerned about attracting rodents, roaches, or other scavengers, it is a simple way be sure that grass clippings, shredded newspaper, and even torn up egg cartons can become working ingredients for eventual composted soil. Finally, one of the most ridiculously simple ways to compost is simply by starting a pile in your yard. As long as you add a little sawdust or hay to keep the pile ‘brewing’ and cover up kitchen waste with yard waste, you should be able to develop rich composted soil in no time.
Cornell University also offers a variety of different composting systems you can look into from snow mesh bins to concrete block compost systems or even garbage can composting in addition to the systems listed above. Worms also make your compost better; the vermicast, or worm waste products, are almost completely usable.
Red wigglers, as they’re known to vermicomposters, are the best type of worms for composting, and are used most often by farmers and gardeners worldwide.
African Nightcrawlers are also good vermicomposters, but they can’t survive in cold temperatures.
If you’re interested in starting a vermicomposting system, please see my full post on How to Compost with Worms. You will know when vermicompost is ready to be harvested in a multi-compartment worm bin after the worms have been eating in one full compartment and you have filled up the next compartment with scraps and bedding.
Let the light shine into the bin that you’re ready to harvest for at least 15 minutes.
When you’re finished harvesting and the compartment is empty, begin adding food scraps and bedding to that one, while the worms work away in the full compartment. A general rule of thumb to follow is to use 3 pounds of vermicompost per 100 square feet of garden space. Outside in the garden, place 1 to 4 inches of vermicompost on the surface level of the soil and work it in. Vermicompost can be added to the surface of the soil surrounding established plants and watered right in. A handful of vermicompost can be placed into the bottom of each planting hole when planting seedlings, and into furrows when planting seeds. If you’re starting seeds indoors, incorporate vermicompost into your starting mix! Use 1 part vermicompost to 3 parts soil mix.



This entry was posted in Organic Gardening and tagged how to compost with worms, how to harvest worm castings, how to use vermicompost, how to use worm castings, how to vermicompost by Cortney Timmer.
Hi, I'm Cortney and I blog about healthy living, organic family recipes and natural parenting.
Sign up now for easy healthy living tips and recipes right in your email that will have you and your whole family smiling! Shop AmazonBy shopping through the Amazon boxes below, you'll help Daily Pea at no extra cost to you. Daily Pea and its authors do not claim to be nutritionists or medical professionals, but rather champions of nutritious foods for our families and providing the best tools for healthy living. Earthworm castings contain high amounts of beneficial bacteria, humus, humic acids, enzymes and many other beneficial natural compounds which increase plant healthy, disease resistance, soil health and much more. In technical terms, worm composting involves the bioxidative degradation of organic wastes via the joint action of earth worms and microorganisms. Aside from the obvious difference of utilizing worms while regular composting does not, worm composting is also a cooler (mesophilic) type of composting.
Short DescriptionEarthworm castings contain high amounts of beneficial bacteria, humus, humic acids, enzymes and many other beneficial natural compounds which increase plant healthy, disease resistance, soil health and much more.
The resulting castings enrich soil by improving texture, increasing nitrogen, trace minerals, and natural growth hormones from the worms themselves.
They are often mistaken for and even found with Eisenia andrei whose coloring is more red, but is of about the same size.A  Both worms perform best at 77aµ’ Fahrenheit and will tolerate temperatures from 32-95aµ’ Fahrenheit, with moisture levels at about 80-85%. Mix compost and food together really well in your 18 gallon rubber tub.A  Using a drill and paint mixer for this will speed up the mixing process. Luckily you can make your own black gold in the comfort of your own home with nature’s master composters: worms. We need decomposition to break down the structure of the lettuce and transform the nutrients into a form that new plants can use. Whatever you put in your bin will get decomposed eventually, but because this is for indoor use, we want to make sure it’s efficient and both odor- and pest-free. Worms thrive in a humid environment (not soaking wet) that is well aerated and warm – 60 to 77 degrees F is ideal. Direct application is self-explanatory, but the nutrient composition will vary from batch to batch, so you might want to test it and adjust your mixture to meet your garden’s requirements. The easiest way to do this is to prepare a new bin underneath the old one with some fresh bedding and food, then place a light or two over the top of the bin. In general, non-native species are a major problem worldwide, both on land and in the oceans, as some species can become invasive, rapidly change an ecosystem, and cause negative impacts on other species and humans.
Red earthworms have a better chance at surviving cold winters than red wrigglers, and thus could pose an invasive environmental threat. This will kill worms and egg cocoons, ensuring that nothing but nutrients will be transferred to your garden. There’s nothing wrong with having a pristine composting unit shipped to your doorstep, leaving it in the corner, and checking it occasionally.
These soil nutrients can turn a half-dead garden plot into a Garden of Eden bursting with bumper crops.
Yard trimmings, such as leaves, grass clippings, garden debris, and brush, make up over 20% of a typical household’s solid waste.
Almost all organic kitchen scraps are good fodder for wigglers, as well as leaves and grass clippings from your yard. One of the many benefits of Bokashi is that when food scraps from your kitchen break down, they don’t smell. This is understandable, because some wood composting bins can rot when exposed to the weather. When considering compostable materials, you need to pay attention to how long each of your additives take to break down. Making sure you add enough fast-break down items to wood chips or tree limbs will make sure you get a rich compost that is fully ready to spread on your garden.
You can place this type of bin in the back corner of your yard, or even near your kitchen if you aren’t worried about pests getting into kitchen scraps that you might add to the pile.
Though this project is so simple, you hardly need plans, you can see examples of a wire bin compost system, here.
Those who live in the city obviously don’t have this composting method as an option, but rural-dwellers can simply dump their grass clippings, wood chips from felled trees, autumn leaves, kitchen scraps, and more straight into a pile. Passive composting is a great way to get organic fertilizer for your garden without having to rely on industrial petrochemicals and biotech pesticides and herbicides – since composted amended gardens often have great natural pest resistance.
These little creatures eat and digest your organic food matter, and transform it into organic fertilizer. If you wait long enough, your vegetable and other food scraps will decay, but it can take months.
Research has shown that vermicast is nearly 3 times richer in calcium than soil, and contains about double the amount of nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorous. According to Nature’s Footprint, Inc., red wigglers eat roughly half of their body weight daily. Composters in cold climates must use them in composting bins that are sheltered from the weather.
Especially when you want to keep your farming expenses to a minimum, when you’re farming for profit or living off the grid, using worms in your compost can save you from buying fertilizer.
It’s one of the most nutritious and sustainable fertilizers you can use in your garden. If you have a working worm bin and you’re thinking about how to use the vermicompost you’ll soon have, check out my tips below! It normally takes the worms as long to eat one whole compartment of scraps as it does for you to fill up the compartment next to it. This will help coax any stray worms down to the bottom of the bin. Next, gently scrape back a few inches of vermicompost with a garden trowel or claw. If you’re going to store your vermicompost for a period of time, 5 gallon buckets with lids or sand bags work great. They’ll move back over when they run out of food, and you can harvest more vermicompost! It’s fascinating to see the worms working away in the bin, and it’s satisfying to see the end result, which is my garden thriving!


Creating meals with organic, non-GMO foods for the health of her family is a passion of hers, as well as taking steps to live a greener, healthier lifestyle. This website is a guide to help you make informed decisions, but should never replace medical advice from licensed professionals. Geeky definitions aside, worm composting is simply a form of aerobic composting that involves the use of specialized worms to help break down organic waste materials. Not only is a hot composting stage not required, but it is actually something that needs to be avoided in order to keep the worms alive (although, if the system has enough room for the worms to spread out they should be able to move away from the hot zones). Corinna’s understanding, love and respect for livestock, gardening, worms, and natural flora and fauna began when she was a young girl living on a ranch in Wyoming. Most burrowing terrestrial worms are oligochaetes, a group with more than 10,000 known species. The easiest way to ensure an odor-free set-up is to include only plant-based food scraps in your composter.
If your worms are dying or if there’s a foul smell, you might need to make a few adjustments to the moisture, oxygen, or temperature. Drain your composter (adding more drainage if necessary), add dry bedding, and stir up your mixture to reintroduce some air to the system. The light will encourage the worms to migrate down through the drainage holes into your new, more enticing bin.
So, while some worms have become commonplace enough to ignore, others, including hitchhikers in your vermicompost, have yet to become established. But if you want to take on the whole project, start small and see how long different foods take to decompose: orange rinds versus potato peels, for example. Unlike in other composting methods, you can even throw in scraps of meat and dairy products instead of just vegetable and fruit remains. After all, the contents inside the bin are going to rot – but you don’t want the container to decompose as well. High nitrogen materials, like grass, will break down very easily and wood chips may take up to two years to reach the humus stage.
The Agriculture Department of Texas A&M gives many recommendations for obtaining the right balance of ingredients in your compost. When you’re running a small farm, living off the grid, or farming for a hobby, vermicomposting can save you money on fertilizer.
The vermicasts are also encased in mucous, so that all of the nutrients aren’t released immediately. These worms will reproduce about 4 times a year, but they practice population control, and won’t add more worms than your compost-bin environment can accommodate.
It can also give your plants a much better environment than commercially-produced fertilizers. I’ve been so excited about how easy and fun vermicomposting is, and how much it has helped my garden grow, that I’ve been wanting to spread the word to everyone!
Let it sit for another 15 minutes, just to make sure to give the worms enough time to burrow down. It’s a fine-tuned system that works well as long as you consistently add scraps to the bin.
It is also known as ‘vermicomposting’, and is closely related to ‘vermiculture’ and ‘worm farming’ – although those terms general imply a great focus on the growing of the worms themselves, rather than on the waste processing and compost production side of the equation. These days the Fritz family are small business owners and novice homesteaders on 6 acres of land in the temperate rain forest of Washington state. While their lot in life is to decompose organic matter, not all worms are suitable for indoor composting. Bacteria are mini recycling plants that multiply quickly and use enzymes to degrade organic matter particles from the outside in. First, as matter passes through their digestive system, it gets physically broken down, which provides the bacteria more surface area to act on. Leave the meat and dairy for the garbage bin and rinse eggshells if you want to add them to the mix. You steep your compost (and add sugar and aeration if you like) to get a nutritious liquid that’s great for regular watering via spray bottle.
Fertilize some seedlings with compost tea and others without and watch for differences as they grow. Unlike regular garden earthworms, which just burrow in the soil, red wiggler worms (Eisenia fetida) act as nature’s recyclers, helping to decompose organic matter. The final bin is where compost can be shoveled out to place directly onto your garden – well after any dangerous pathogens have been killed in the process of composting. Vermicomposting uses natural methods to produce a free, superior material that nourishes your plants. The tea can be used to water plants indoors our out, even spraying it onto leaves as a gentle but powerful fertilizer.
Second, worm guts add more bacteria and enzymes to the mix, which helps speed up the chemical reactions required to produce compost.
You can purchase a starter kit and get going right away or, if you’re more of a do-it-yourselfer, build one yourself out of cardboard, metal, wood, or plastic. New worms pose a major threat to hardwood forests, where they would change the soil structure and growth dynamics of the ecosystem. It’s an inexpensive way to keep your kids (and you!) stimulated and thinking about the environment. We can even visit our recycling centre and pick up the compost (quite cheaply) that they have made!Ruhee B.1 years agoI have a big compost bin. The end products of worm digestion are castings: nutrient-rich additions to your indoor or outdoor soils. Use the wealth of resources out there, and don’t be afraid to jump right in and give vermicomposting a go.
I don't mind them nor do I kill any of them - live and let live I say!Jacqueline Lavanchy1 years agoI installed my vermicompost 3 years ago, at first it was a bit of a challenge because I don't feel much at ease with worms but now, even though I still don't handle them ( I use chopsticks, delicately to remove them when they finished composting a layer), I really have a completely new approach to them.



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