Worm composting, also called Vermicomposting, is another way to decompose plant matter. Worms do the work of consuming compostable materials. It’s easy to set up a worm farm. Then, the worms excrete nutrient and mineral-rich worm castings. Assuming you are using all organic raw compost materials, the output is also organic…. healthy for you and your plants!
Earthworms create worm casting equal to their weight every day. Worm castings are highly valued by experienced gardeners. Worm castings are such a valuable plant fertilizer, that some companies are in the business of managing worm farms to produce and sell worm castings.
Did you Know? People once thought garden earthworms were a bad thing. Many people confused them with snakes. As a result, gardeners would try to rid their gardens of this “pest”.
It’s easy to practice vermicomposting and maintain a productive worm farm:
Select a large wooden, or plastic box or container.
Drill small holes in the bottom for water to drain.
Add ample amounts of bedding materials: shredded paper, cardboard, leaves, or other brown “materials”. Avoid color-printed newspapers.
Moisten the bedding material.
You can also add decomposed manure (not raw).
Next, mix in food for them. Use plant matter. Kitchen scraps make great food for your worms.
Do not add dairy products, oils, or bones.
Add red worms or earthworms.
Cover the top with a layer of wet newspaper.
The worms will feed on the plant matter and leave castings behind.
Continue to provide a regular supply of plant matter…it’s their food source.
Keep the worm farm in a cool, dark location. If the container is in sunlight, it can get too hot for the worms to survive.
Harvest finished compost, which is full of rich worm castings. Carefully, remove the worms, and place them back into the container.
A healthy and successful worm farm will maintain a population of worms indefinitely, with worms reproducing.
Garden Tip: Never put worms in a composter. The temperatures reach a high level that kills the worms.
There are virtually thousands of varieties of worms, found all over the world. Red worms and earthworms are the common residents of a worm farm.
Red Worms – These little guys are the most often used for worm composting. Most people who have worm farms prefer to use efficient, hard-working red worms.
Nightcrawlers – Those big, fat worms that fisherman seeks, are good composters, too. They are also effective aerators, helping to loosen the soil so plant roots can spread easier. Their big, deep tunnels and burrows allow water and moisture to penetrate deeper into the soil where your plant’s roots are. Nightcrawlers also leave plenty of worm castings behind.
Worm Casting Liquid Fertilizer – Castings can be made into a liquid tea to fertilize all of your plants, indoors and out.