Today my husband surprised me with a vermicomposting farm. Who needs flowers right? I got worms! I must say I was pretty excited to get them. I have been wanting to start a vermicompost project for some time now.
What is vermicomposting you ask? It is the process of taking organic waste and turning it into high quality compost using worms. It is a great way to to take your household kitchen scraps and turn them into healthy soil for your garden. Once you start using your scraps you will be surprised at how many food scraps you were throwing in the garbage. Don't have a vegetable garden? Use the compost on your flower garden.
The easiest way to start vermicomposting project is in a plastic bin.
We stacked two small plastic bins inside each other and used one lid. Then drill a few small holes in the top bin for drainage into the bottom bin. It doesn't take up much room. This container will need to be kept inside the house, not in the garage or outside. If it is properly maintained, there will be no smell. You can add most of your table scraps and even paper and turn them into garden gold. Vermicomposting can reduce your garbage by a third and double your harvest in your garden. Now who wouldn't want that?
Vermicompost is made of worm poop and decayed organic matter. Worms can eat half their own weight in organic matter a day! The amazing thing about worms is they don’t digest what the eat. They simply eat, take the nutrients they need and release the processed matter encapsulated. The resulting matter has 6-8 times more micro-nutrients than the original matter they ate. They also clean the matter of disease pathogens as they process the material through their body. The world’s perfect nutrient is created. Red worms can double their population every 90 days, as long as conditions inside the bin, such as temperature, moisture level and food supply, remain hospitable. If you have 2 lbs of worms, you need to add at least 1 lb of scraps a day.
Worm casts are a chocked full of nutrients, much more than ordinary soil. Compared to average topsoil, worm castings have 5X more nitrogen, 7 times more phosphorus, and 11 times more potassium. The pH is also a perfect balance of 7. You can make compost tea to spray on your plants. (That's a post for another day!)
So this slow releasing fertilizer makes your yard greener, your blackberries sweeter, and your flowers more vibrant. If you were to buy this type of fertilizer, it would cost you several dollars a pound and worms can make it all for you, right in your own box……for free.
Things to not put in your vermicomposting project: onions, meat, bones, citrus peels, and eggshells. Once your worm project starts to grow you will start moving some of the worms outside in your compost pile.
Red Wigglers are the worms you needed for this project. You can get them from companies online, check on Craigslist for individuals in your area selling them or check your local bait shop. Wouldn't it feel good to rescue those little guys before they become fish food?