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  • Not this kind of worm, sadly!

    And this ‘worm manure’ is an end product that’s fairly easy to achieve. It can be a great way to fertilise your garden and houseplants and reduce waste.

    Vermicomposting usually involves using red-wigglers (and sometimes white worms) to speed up the decomposition process of composting. Compost creates organic fertiliser from natural waste to improve soil health.

    These worms (Eisenia foetida or Lumbricus rubellus), are the best because they are able to reproduce effectively while in captivity.

    So…is Vermicomposting Worm Farming?

    Yep – worm farming, also A hand holding a trowel adding compost to a yellow bucket

    Credit: Unsplash

    Large-scale vermicomposting

    Whilst most of you might want to vermicompost to use up food scraps and waste, vermicomposting has very useful applications on a larger scale, too.

    Throughout

    Soil

    To create healthy soil, you’ll first have to have a bit of starter in which to place your worms.

    So while your worms will create soil and compost with their discarded worm castings, you can’t just put them straight into a bin. Instead, you’ll need bedding materials –  which we’ll discuss below.

    Once you get them started, you’ll have vermicompost you can add to your garden soil in 3-6 months from scratch.

    Compost Material: Waste and food waste

    In general, compostable materials include:

    So anything that can decompose and is organic matter can be added to compost piles. Just remember not to add dairy, oil and meat waste (as they’ll smell), and that green waste may heat up your compost bin.

    Don’t let your bin get too hot or dry out, or get too cool in colder temperatures – the plastic compost bin with grass cuttings next to white clapperboard wall

    Credit: Flickr

    Temperatures and moisture

    What you don’t want is excess water in your compost bin. The moisture content and ambient temperatures need to be kept just right to keep your worms productive (and alive!).

    Adding a bit of water to handfuls of soil will be necessary, but keep the range of temperatures between 60-80 degrees F (like we mentioned earlier). Both freezing and too hot weather can kill off worms. You can spray down your bin every so often to keep it moist.

    To combat high heat, keep an eye on your worms and potentially cut back on feeding materials, especially green waste. These might be causing your bin to heat up and food will go wasted. You can reverse this plan in winter.

    How to Create and Maintain a Worm Composting Bin

    In this section, we’ll go through how to gather up everything we’ve just talked about and make your very own vermicomposting bin. These make great additions to garden greenhouses to keep your potting mix nearby.

    Vermicomposting Checklist

    How to set up a worm bin for vermicomposting

    If using a pre-existing bin

    Make sure not to use anything built from aromatic woods like cedar or redwood!

    To build your own vermicompost bin from scratch, just follow the video below.

    Shop Greenhouses

    FAQs

    Vermicomposting, or composting with worms, just requires you to:

     

    • Buy or construct a compost bin from wood or plastic
    • Buy red-wriggler worms
    • Shred bedding materials like cardboard and coconut husks
    • Feed worms half their weight in organic food waste and scraps per day
    • Harvest nutrient-rich organic vermicompost in 3-6 months

     

    Yes - the great thing about vermicomposting is it can be done at scale, or in a small bin if you live in a city apartment or somewhere with a shared garden.

    All you really need is a bin, worms, bedding materials and food scraps to feed them.

    While the positives of vermicomposting far outweigh the negatives, a couple of drawbacks might be:

     

    • Takes 3-6 months to get finished materials
    • Unless done at scale, it's effective for dealing with garden waste
    • Fiddly to separate worms from compost when harvesting

     

    The rule of thumb is that you'll require 1 pound of worms square foot of compost bin and that they eat half their weight a day. So if you have 10 pounds of worms in your bin, they'll need 5 pounds of food waste a day.

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