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If you are wondering about the reason behind the increasing interest that people have been showing towards vermicomposting, here are some interesting facts.
Vermicomposting is a natural method to divert a part of the waste from the landfills and convert it into a resource that is rich in nutrients. Well, to start with the process of vermicomposting with worms, first get a vermicomposting bin. The secret to worm composting lies in successfully providing your worms a good blend of food items to work on, including but not limited to fruits, vegetables, bread scraps, tea leaves, egg shells, and coffee grounds. Aaron Barclay is a social worker, whose hobby is to contribute his bit towards a greener world. To get vigorous growth,uniform growth of seedling raise the seedling in protray under shadenet. Many gardeners compost both yard waste and kitchen waste with compost piles, sheet composting or some other method during the growing season.
In the book, Worms Eat My Garbage, writer *Mary Appelhof suggests weighing your household food waste for one week (in pounds), and then provide one square foot of surface area per pound. TIP: If you make a worm bin out of a plastic storage container, never snap the lid shut tight. The large worm bin below (figure 1) is heavier, but is desirable in situations where a bin is going to be outdoors part of the year or in a heated garage. The bedding for vermicomposting systems must be able to retain both moisture and air while providing a place for the worms to live. Before putting the bedding in your bin, squeeze the water out from the bedding as much as possible. The worms used in vermicomposting are called redworms (Eisenia foetida), also know as red wigglers, manure worms, red hybrid or tiger worms. If you know someone who has an established supply, they may be willing to sell you some of their worms.
The kitchen waste fed to worms can come from a variety of sources, including all vegetable and fruit waste (don't be surprised that some seeds may germinate and potato peels with eyes sprout), pasta leftovers, coffee grounds (with filter) and tea bags. If you notice odors, cut back on the amount of food or try chopping the food up into smaller pieces. Given the right environment, the worms will go to work to digest the kitchen scraps and bedding faster than any other compost method. To keep your bin going, you will need to remove the castings from time to time and there are several ways to go about it. Another method of harvesting composts is to push the black, decomposed material to one side of the bin, and fill the other side with new, moist bedding and kitchen scraps.
After you've had your worm bin established, you may begin noticing other creatures besides the redworms - especially if you keep your bin outdoors. In Mary Appelhof's book "Worms Eat My Garbage", she suggests that if you are allergic to molds and mildew, you may want to keep your home bin outside or away from living areas. Try a variety of sources - compare prices, services, shipping policies and timeframes, and warranties.
Use of commercial and trade names does not imply approval or constitute endorsement by Nebraska Extension or the author of this resource. The information on this Web site was updated September 2008 and is valid for residents of southeastern Nebraska. Vermicomposting is an increasingly popular Eco-friendly and efficient method that can greatly aid your home gardening efforts. Vermicomposting is the breaking down of organic material primarily through the use of worms along with bacteria and fungi. Using earthworms to convert organic waste is an ecologically safe method that leads to an environmentally safe product. Unlike compost, worm castings contains worm mucus and the secretions of the worm's intestinal tract. Vermicompost requires much less back work than traditional composting, because a worm bin requires no turning. Worms require a little more attention; they are a living creature sensitive to their environment and all. Generally you want 1 square foot of surface area for each pound of waste that will go into the bin. It's okay to combine different bedding materials; it can create a richer source of nutrients.
Allow the bedding to set for a day or two, making sure it doesn't heat up, and allow to cool before adding the worms. Grass clippings should be allowed to age before or they'll break down too quickly and the compost will heat up. Don't let the organic material get to deep or add too much at once, the decomposing might become anaerobic which is stinky (ammonia) and may kill worms. If you're going away, leave extra food in the bin, you won't notice any possible smells because you won't be around. Method two: Fresh bedding and waste are added to one side of the bin and eventually the worms will move over, and the finished compost can be removed. Method three: Place the compost in small, conical piles on a tarp in the sun (or under bright lights). Method four: Create a secondary worm bin with fresh bedding and food and place it on top of the bin you wish to harvest (make sure there are holes in it or the worms can't get it). Remove any large chunks of undecomposed matter, if put into the soil these chunks will compete with growing plants for nitrogen. Vermicomposting, or vermiculture, is a method of composting that uses worms, either red wigglers or red earthworms, in addition to bacteria, as a catalyst for the decomposition of organic waste. You'll add moist bedding to the bin, such as dried leaves, sawdust, hay or shredded paper, which mimics the worms' natural habitat and serves as a food source.



I've always wanted to do this but just never get around to it - and I compost on my balcony. I bought a pre-assembled worm bin (worms and soil included) at a local farmer's market this past spring. Vermiculture, commonly known as worm composting, is the method of using earthworms in the production of manure. It is good to have a vermiculture bin at home for providing plants with the necessary fertilizers. The materials used for the preparation of humus are a suitable container, newspaper shreds or peat moss, organic material, vegetables that are not composted, water, and earthworms. The box selected for the worm composting system should have 3 mm holes, starting 4 inches from its bottom.
An important thing to be remembered in the maintenance of the vermicast bins is to keep them in an elevated position. The procedure for the preparation of a worm compost system is simple to understand and easy to follow.
This growing interest is partially due to the great eagerness for green living, growing one’s own food, and other such things. Shredded newspaper is also a good choice; however, just ensure to skip any kind of color prints or inserts.
Avoid scraps like fats, dairy, and meats as these can lead to problems by attracting rodents. You also have to keep an eye on them to ensure that you are not underfeeding or over-feeding them.
He does all that is possible to save the environment right from making use of recycled products, and some handy vermicompost tips too.
Application of vermicompost significantly contributes in soil health, nutrient recycling and environmental degradation. Fortunately, very little yard waste is generated during winter months when cold temperatures make composting difficult. Wood bins allow for a better air movement and a bin this size (figure 1) will take care of food scraps from a family of four. If the bin is indoors, a sheet of dark plastic or burlap sacking placed loosely on top of the bedding is sufficient as a cover.
This bin has a bottom so it can be moved and used in a heated garage or basement during cold weather. Bedding does not have to be purchased and most of us have plenty of bedding resources in our home, office or school.
A 2-by-2 foot box will need between 4 and 6 pounds of dry bedding, a 2-by-3 foot box will take 9 to 14 pounds.
Place the dry, shredded bedding in a large container and add water until it covers the bedding. If it is drying out, mist the paper with water from a spray bottle and dampen the bedding again. Redworms prefer temperatures between 55 and 77 degrees Fahrenheit and are suited to living in a worm bin. It will take time for bacteria to form and your bin can quickly become very smelly if you add too much food, too fast. The material will pass through the worms' bodies and become "castings." In about 3-4 months, the worms will have digested nearly all the garbage and bedding and the bin will be filled with a rich, black natural fertilizer and soil amendment.
Molds and mildew are part of the composting cycle that help to break down organic materials and naturally occur in a worm bin.
Businesses and resources listed on this site do not constitute an endorsement by Nebraska Extension or the author of this resource. These extra worm by-products help prevent nutrients from washing out of the soil and help the soil to retain moisture. Red Wigglers, because they prefer the composting environment as opposed to other types of earthworms.
As long as a bin follows these criteria it really doesn't matter what the bin is - bins can be wooden boxes, plastic moving bins, old bathtubs, barrels, old fridges, or even hollowed out tree trunks. Outdoor bins may have to be insulated with dirt or straw to help protect the worms from extreme cold and heat. A bin may also be covered with mulch instead of a lid, but keep in mind critters can get in and if there are odors, they can get out. Keep in mind that a light source and disturbing the soil (gently with your hand) encourages the worms to move out of that area.
The worms will eventually move into the secondary bin making for an easy harvest of the first. Usually it's the bedding; bedding should feel like a wrung out sponge, moist to the touch not soaked. It can occur on a large (tons) or small scale, but it's particularly suited to kitchen composting, where space is limited. The castings obtained from worms are rich in organic nutrients, and it is used both on a large scale in farming and on a small scale in home gardens. The mixture containing earthworms and humus should be taken out of the container and spread on a piece of paper.
Following the process and guidelines can help obtain manure that is sustainable and a rich source of nutrients for your plants. The worms inside can eat all vegetable and food scraps, though few individuals have reported problem with garlic, onion, and citrus fruits.
Don’t add scraps of food to this bin for some days since the worms have to consume all the food in the bottom bin.
Proving the old proverb, the trash of one man is the treasure of another is true in this case.


The temperature of the bedding should not be allowed to get below freezing or above 84 degrees.
Worms have a gizzard like chickens so fine grit should be added to help the worms digest food.
In the beginning, add a very small amount of gritty material (see above) and a small amount of vegetable matter. Compared to ordinary soil, the worm castings contain five times more nitrogen, seven times more phosphorus and 11 times more potassium. The worms will migrate to the freshly filled side of the bin and you can just scoop out the finished compost. Nonlethal methods of control (swatting, traps for fruit flies and ants, etc.) are the best for areas around your worm bins. Vermicomposting acts as a catalyst to nature’s process of breaking down organic matter.
Peat moss should be soaked for 24 hours in water then wrung out to ensure it's sufficiently moist. The secondary bin can be temporary or a permanent tier you can continuously exchange back and forth with the other bin. To set up a vermicompost, you first must find a bin, anything from a reused plastic bucket to a retailer compost bin, that has holes in the sides to allow air to flow, and a spout that can be opened or closed or holes in the bottom to drain into a collection tray.
You can compost practically all of your food waste, aside from animal leftovers, including coffee grounds and filters, tea bags, plate scrapings, rotting fruit, vegetable peels, leftovers, moldy bread, etc. This process is practiced on a large scale in countries like Italy, Canada, Japan, the United States, and the Philippines.
The material used as a lid for the container should be a canvas tarp, a burlap sack, or any other suitable item.
The Eisenia foetida, commonly known as 'Red Wiggler', is 4 inches long, has a red body, and a yellow tail. Add to it the fact that you can even sell worms to those who need live baits, especially those who love to go fishing! Cut these scraps into cubes of around two inches each and bury the food in the layer of bedding.
After you start to add food scraps to the next bin, these worms will make way to the second bin.
Vermicomposting is the process of using worms and micro-organisms to turn kitchen waste into a black, earthy-smelling, nutrient-rich humus. You may want to line the bottom with rocks or boards to keep rodents and other worm-loving creatures from tunneling in. For smaller bins, experiment--if you prepare excess bedding, it can be dried, stored and used another time.
There is also a concern with toxoplasmosis, a disease that is of particular concern to a pregnant woman who may pass on the disease to her unborn child.
This book is an excellent reference for anyone wanting to start and maintain a worm composting system. If the bin is temporary, just empty the contents into the main bin once it has been harvested. The type of bin you use will fall into one of three categories: non-continuous (undivided container), continuous vertical flow (vertically stacked trays), or continuous horizontal flow (horizontally stacked trays). The worms will chew through the material, and their excrement will in essence be a nutrient-rich fertilizer.
It can also be done on a small scale using containers made of wood, rubber, metal, or plastic. The shreds provide ventilation and act as a fibrous material necessary for the worms to survive. Then, you can remove the bin at the bottom and also the castings so that you can use them in your potted plants or garden.
Each time you remove some bedding, the worms will be exposed to the light and they will keep migrating down to the bottom of the bin.
If you have cats, provide a screen or other device to keep them from using the worm bin as a litter box. This is a nutrient-rich organic substance that can be added to soil as a natural manure to increase it’s organic matter content and available nutrients.
If properly managed a bin shouldn't smell and the worms benefit from a more stable temperature.
If using a permanent swapping system, be careful that the second bin doesn't compact the contents of the first bin.
You can then mix your fertilizer with potting mix at a one-to-four-part mix, and your plants will eat it right up!
On the top of the newspaper shreds, a little bit of water should be sprinkled and allowed to soak for a whole day. The advantage of using the European Nightcrawlers is that they eat a lot and thus, produce fertilizers in the same proportion. The dried out humus should be separated from the earthworms as they move towards the moist area.
It's a good idea to weigh the amount of waste you and your family produce a day to get a better idea of how many worms are needed. Excessive feeding leads to fattening of the worms, while a balanced diet helps in an increase in production.



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