Vermicomposting Explained and Why You Should Be Doing This

Are you tired of a smelling kitchen due to kitchen food and decomposable trash? Worry not, as you can opt for vermicomposting to convert the decomposable waste into manure.

Even when you empty your trash can frequently, the awful smell might not go away, and it would need vermicomposting.

Vermicomposting uses the red wiggler worm that converts the decomposable kitchen waste into black, earth-smelling humus that acts as manure.

So, what is vermicomposting and what are the advantages of vermicomposting? Read on to learn more about creating organic manure at home, for free.

This post might contain affiliate links. If you purchase anything through links on my site, know that I receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.

What Is Vermicomposting?

Vermicomposting is the use of earthworms to process organic wastes into nutrient-rich humus.

The earthworms ingest the organic matter and excrete dark, odorless, organically rich soil mud granules, which are excellent soil conditioners.

The decomposition is through an aerobic process that is quick and different from traditional composting.

The earthworms’ casts form ready-to-use fertilizers, which can be used at a higher rate of application than compost as the nutrients are released at a rate that the plants would love.

Small-scale farmers and homeowners can do vermicomposting with household organic wastes.

It can also be applied to large-scale manure production using food industry sources like the fruits and vegetable cull materials.

How Vermicomposting Works

You will have to introduce the worms to the decomposable waste and wait for about a month for the casts to form completely.

Normal composting would take about 40 days before it completely decomposes and additional three months for curing.

However, the vermicomposting will not need curing as the fresh casts only undergo two weeks of nitrification where the ammonium content transforms to nitrate, which the plants can uptake adequately.

It is wise to use organic materials suitable for earthworms’ preference, such as a material density of 359-360g/l.

Moreover, you should maintain ideal earthworm density as overcrowding leads to unhealthy competition; its population should be about 150 earthworms/l of wastes.

The earthworms will consume about 75% of their body weight per day which translates to 0.15g/day for each worm weighing 0.2g.

If you notice the earthworms moving from their feeder, it might indicate an issue with the organics materials, and it should prompt an investigation.

However, you should allow the earthworms to move from finished vermicomposting to fresh wastes.

What are the advantages of vermicomposting

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· The process of manure production is clean and socially acceptable as it has little odor.

Because the worms are eating your kitchen waste products, there is very little odor in the process of getting a quality garden amendment.

· It does not require energy input for aeration

The worms do all the work, you have to do very little.

· Can reduce the mass of waste by 30%

I have found after composting for a while, that it can take up a lot of room. In the process of vermicomposting, the worms are efficient little workers. They can reduce the amount of waste you have by 30%.

· The process produces valuable vermicast byproducts.

Vermicast is what is left over when the worms are finished. It is a mixture of worm casting (poop), and uneaten pieces of food.

They will eat most of the food, but there might be pieces that are leftover. This is a very valuable soil amendment.

· Generates worms that can be used as fishing bait

Hey, two in one. You could sell these as bait for fishermen and would be one way to help make your farm profitable. All about the diversity here.

This Worm Factory Will Help You Get Your Vermicomposting Operation set up in little time. Buy it here.

Vermicomposting Characteristics

· High in nutrients

Feeding the organic wastes to the earthworms results in nitrogen, phosphorus, and sulfur mineralization after digestion.

When you apply the casts in your garden, the nutrients will be released to the soil slowly according to your plants’ needs.

· Salinity

Ammonia found in the organic matter will contribute to salinity which can repel the earthworms. If the organic substance has low salt levels, the resulting mixture will have low salinity.

Moreover, the ammonia mineralization resulting from fresh vermicast will be nitrified in the earthworm’s gut over two weeks.

· Pathogens

Vermicomposting does not produce pathogens; the low amounts of pathogens are also lower than those in typical composts.

The earthworms consume the fungi found in the fresh matter, while the aerobic bacteria will not survive in the aerobic conditions.

Furthermore, the vermicomposting does not produce heat allowing disease-suppressing organisms to thrive controlling the growth of pathogens.

Earthworms Feed Preference

Earthworms love food that can be digested within two weeks, and the ideal food is composed of the fresh green plant wastes and animal wastes in the kitchen.

They preferably feed on food with close to neutral PH, and sudden PH fluctuations will repel the earthworms. Your compost should be porous, allowing the earthworms to roam freely and for the oxygen to penetrate easily.

The compost should be warm as the earthworms can die at high or low temperatures.

The soil should be moist and not wet as 75% of the moisture is ideal, which will look like wet soil in the field; the earthworms might migrate from wet matter.

The density should be similar to the fluffy density of the peat moss.

Moreover, your home wastes should not have salt, which raises salinity; high salinity might be toxic for the earthworms.

Moreover, the compost should be devoid of harmful chemicals such as deworming medicine, pesticides, tannins, and detergents, killing the earthworms.

Finally, the earthworms would stay under a thin layer of compost during the day as they have light sensitivity, which can trigger skin pain and leave the materials that do not allow burrowing.

The Tools You Need To Start Your Own Vermicomposting Process.

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When you decide to build your vermicomposting at home, you should know the amount of compost you produce weekly by measuring the number of pounds of organic waste.

For every pound of waste, the compost bin should be approximately one square foot of surface. A shallow, larger bin with a large surface area will be preferable as the earthworms are surface feeders.

You would need tools such as plywood, hammer, drill, and flooring pallet nails.

You will then put together the compost box using nails on the four sides then hammer the bottom on the created plywood square.

You will drill ½ inch holes in the compost container base, which helps with adequate drainage and aeration.

Finally, you will set the compost bin on blocks, caster, or legs, allowing for air aeration underneath.

Place a sheet under the compost, which collects any fallen casts and worms which can gradually crawl from the aeration holes.

Unwilling to build it yourself? This Worm Farm Starter Kit would be an easy and simple way to start your own vermicomposting operation! See it on Amazon here.

The Bottom Line

Vermicomposting is an easy method of obtaining manure for your home garden as it uses organic decomposable kitchen wastes.

The compost produced through vermicomposting is ready within two weeks as they are cast from earthworms. The earthworms are surface feeders, and you should provide the best conditions for them to thrive.

The compost should have a neutral PH and well aerated, making the earthworms feed well and transform the organic matter into casts.

You should have tools such as drills and nails to make your compost at home. Good luck in creating your farm manure.

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