What is Vermiculture?
Vermiculture, or worm farming, is an alternative to the traditional ways of composting. It is also a fascinating project – one that you can get children involved with too. With Vermiculture, you are growing or rearing worms under specialised conditions for decomposing organic waste materials. These worms help in creating nutrient-rich manure that you can use in your vegetable or flower garden.
Worms (such as tiger worms) would consume the waste materials you put into the wormery and digest them. The excretion from these worms contains nitrogen, phosphorous, iron, zinc, and other minerals. Thus, they are nutrient-rich and can help in enriching the soil in different ways. This process is known as vermicomposting. Through vermicomposting that takes place as part of Vermiculture, we can acquire manure for our plants.
Benefits of Vermiculture
Vermiculture has a plethora of benefits. Here are just some of them.
· The manure from Vermiculture can enhance soil fertility and amend it.
Second, · Vermiculture can help in reducing household waste. As per a recent study, Vermiculture is an excellent way to treat household waste, even if it is in small quantities.
· Vermicompost can increase crop yield.
· Adding vermicompost to soil can improve its structure and quality. It can also reduce soil erosion.
Besides that, worms can increase the speed of composting. It can also offer aeration that will help in aerobic decomposition.
How to do Vermiculture as a Beginner
Performing vermiculture from your home using kitchen scrap is very easy and, at the same time, highly beneficial.
Here are the steps to follow while starting Vermiculture in your home.
· Selecting your wormery and worms
A wormery is a container where you can rear worms to decompose organic waste materials. You can either buy or make a wormery. When it comes to creating a wormery from your home, you can use storage containers or barrels. First, however, focus on forming a pleasant environment that allows worms to thrive and live. Ensure that there is moisture content, good airflow and a suitable temperature for the worms to survive.
See this video on how to make a wormery:
When it comes to temperature, it is best to maintain it between 10 to 20 degrees Celsius. The reason behind this is that Vermiculture is quite different from cold and hot composting.
You need to consider the size of the wormery you plan to build or buy, according to where you are going to site it for a start. You also need to consider the amount of food waste generated from your home. It is also helpful in selecting the number of worms for the wormery.
If you buy a wormery online, the seller will advise you of all of this. So it is straightforward to begin. Don’t get put off, as their advice is always spot on.
Selecting the right worm is also essential. Here, you can opt for tiger worms or red wiggler. They are different from the worms you can find in your garden. You can order them online via a specialist wormery company (see below) when you purchase your wormery, or on their own if you make your own wormery.
When it comes to the number of worms, remember that a worm can only munch through half of its body weight every day. So, you have to decide based on the waste materials you have in your household. Keep them happy!
· Setting up the wormery
The next step is setting up the wormery. You have to start with proper bedding as the foundation. For that purpose, you can use garden compost as it is rich and fertile. Another option is to use cocoa fibre brick. However, you need to soak it in a bucket of water for at least two hours before using it. After placing the bedding in the wormery, you can then add your worms.
Once you add them, allow them time to settle in. Covering the wormery with a cloth can also be beneficial as it can deter flies. You can do so after adding food into the wormery.
· Feeding the worms
Worms are living organisms, and they do need food. Feed them regularly. However, some people tend to provide food items all at once, which can lead to overfeeding. By far the best way to avoid or overcome this is by giving them food from time to time. Dig a small hole in the wormery and add kitchen scraps to it.
You can also include sawdust, shredded paper, cattle and poultry waste. However, it is best to avoid wood materials, onions, citrus skins, dairy products (for instance, yoghurt, cheese), meat, uncooked potato peels, etc. Akin to regular compost, you must maintain a balance between the green and brown materials in Vermiculture.
Through these steps, you can create Vermiculture in your home with ease. By doing so, you can take care of the environment and enhance your crop yield.
Wormery companies: (I am not affiliated to any of these companies)
Brycus (wooden wormeries)
Here are some great resources to assist you in getting started with worm farming
We swear by the wormery from Wormcity. They come out tops in many reviews. The tray capacity of this UK manufactured wormery by WormCity is 25 litres, which is very good. It measures 75cm x 43cm x 43cm.
The compost that is produced in the deep trays is of high quality. It features an internal stepped design and a V-shaped sump. There are 500g of wriggly worms in the box and food and bedding included in the wormery, so it has everything you need to be up and running straight away.
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