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Lesson 5: Identifying Ways to Reduce the Amount of Waste in our Lives Recycle, Reuse, Re-Imagine!
For a wealth of vermicomposting resources, visit Rhonda Sherman’s Vermicomposting website. Vermicompost, and check out Vermicompost on Wikipedia, Youtube, Google News, Google Books, and Twitter on Digplanet.
Containing water-soluble nutrients, vermicompost is an excellent, nutrient-rich organic fertilizer and soil conditioner.[3] This process of producing vermicompost is called vermicomposting.
These species commonly are found in organic-rich soils throughout Europe and North America and live in rotting vegetation, compost, and manure piles. Composting worms are available to order online, from nursery mail-order suppliers or angling shops where they are sold as bait. Large-scale vermicomposting is practiced in Canada, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, the Philippines, and the United States.[11][12] The vermicompost may be used for farming, landscaping, to create compost tea, or for sale.
The second type of large-scale vermicomposting system is the raised bed or flow-through system.
Because red worms are surface dwellers constantly moving towards the new food source, the flow-through system eliminates the need to separate worms from the castings before packaging. For vermicomposting at home, a large variety of bins are commercially available, or a variety of adapted containers may be used.
Small-scale vermicomposting is well-suited to turn kitchen waste into high-quality soil amendments, where space is limited. Composting worms which are detritivorous (eaters of trash), such as the red wiggler Eisenia fetidae, are epigeic (surface dwellers) together with symbiotic associated microbes are the ideal vectors for decomposing food waste. There may be differences in vermicomposting methods depending on the climate.[21] It is necessary to monitor the temperatures of large-scale bin systems (which can have high heat-retentive properties), as the feedstocks used can compost, heating up the worm bins as they decay and killing the worms. There are few food wastes that vermicomposting cannot compost, although meat waste and dairy products are likely to putrefy, and in outdoor bins can attract vermin. Vermicompost is ready for harvest when it contains few-to-no scraps of uneaten food or bedding[citation needed].

The pyramid method of harvesting worm compost is considered the simplest method for single layer bins.[31][32] It is commonly used in small scale vermiculture. It is rich in microbial life which converts nutrients already present in the soil into plant-available forms.
Vermicompost can be mixed directly into the soil, or steeped in water and made into a worm tea by mixing some vermicompost in water, bubbling in oxygen with a small air pump, and steeping for a number of hours or days.
The pH, nutrient, and microbial content of these fertilizers varies upon the inputs fed to worms. If decomposition has become anaerobic, to restore healthy conditions and prevent the worms from dying, the smelly, excess waste water must be removed and the bin returned to a normal moisture level. Pests such as rodents and flies are attracted by certain materials and odors, usually from large amounts of kitchen waste, particularly meat. In warm weather, fruit and vinegar flies breed in the bins if fruit and vegetable waste is not thoroughly covered with bedding.
Commercial vermicomposters test, and may amend their products to produce consistent quality and results. The curriculum includes an accompanying CD, which offers a visual reference not found in traditional classroom lectures.
They may be an invasive species in some areas.[1][10] As they are shallow-dwelling and feed on decomposing plant matter in the soil, they adapt easily to living on food or plant waste in the confines of a worm bin. Some systems use a windrow, which consists of bedding materials for the earthworms to live in and acts as a large bin; organic material is added to it. Here the worms are fed an inch of "worm chow" across the top of the bed, and an inch of castings are harvested from below by pulling a breaker bar across the large mesh screen which forms the base of the bed. Flow-through systems are well suited to indoor facilities, making them the preferred choice for operations in colder climates.
Metal containers often conduct heat too readily, are prone to rusting, and may release heavy metals into the vermicompost. Worms can decompose organic matter without the additional human physical effort (turning the bin) that bin composting requires.

If decomposition becomes anaerobic from excess wet feedstock added to the bin, or the layers of food waste have become too deep, the bin will begin to smell of ammonia. To do this, first reduce addition of food scraps with a high moisture content and second, add fresh, dry bedding such as shredded newspaper to your bin, mixing it in well.
Because the small-scale and home systems use a varied mix of feedstocks, the nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus content of the resulting vermicompost will also be inconsistent. In addition, there is a training PowerPoint presentation with teacher training generally provided by your local county 4-H agent.
Please help improve this article either by rewriting the how-to content or by moving it to Wikiversity, Wikibooks or Wikivoyage. These species are not the same worms that are found in ordinary soil or on pavement when the soil is flooded by water. Although the windrow has no physical barriers to prevent worms from escaping, in theory they should not due to an abundance of organic matter for them to feed on.
The design of a small bin usually depends on where an individual wishes to store the bin and how they wish to feed the worms. Styrofoam containers may release chemicals into the organic material.[14] Some cedars, Yellow cedar, and Redwood contain resinous oils that may harm worms,[15] although Western Red Cedar has excellent longevity in composting conditions. Maintaining the correct pH (close to neutral) and water content of the bin (just enough water where squeezed bedding drips a couple of drops) can help avoid these pests as well. Users refer to European nightcrawlers by a variety of other names, including dendrobaenas, dendras, and Belgian nightcrawlers. Often windrows are used on a concrete surface to prevent predators from gaining access to the worm population.

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  1. killer_girl writes:
    Techniques REQUIRE that you just switch out raised backyard beds and grow your own.
  2. xoxanka writes:
    Leggy greens with cut back leaf dimension when requested to name any bush herb in dietary dietary.
  3. TM_087 writes:
    From the earthworm's exactly what your farm will be incredibly disappointed to say the least.