Composting is one of the best ways to reduce the amount of garbage and create an organic soil supplement for the garden, and composting with worms allows you to speed up the production of vermicompost, and you can start at home
Composting with earthworms is also called vermiculture or vermicomposting, when at the exit you become the owner of a full-fledged organic fertilizer and soil conditioner for almost no cost and with minimal effort. It is enough to have a special worm composter on hand and regularly load food waste, for example, vegetable waste, and a newspaper there. Worms will process what you offer them, returning concentrated organic matter in return.
Yes, such vermicompost contains the waste products of worms, but you rely on different types of manure to bring nutrients to the soil?
- Less waste. All types of composting reduce waste. You will be surprised how many items that you regularly throw away can be added to worm compost.
- Fast result. Standard composting processes take a lot of time. Depending on the climate and the specific composition of the compost, it may take up to a year to get healthy and safe organics.
Vermicomposting is the fastest method, when with sufficient worms and proper feeding, compost can be ready for use in two to four weeks.
- Less odor. It is believed that composting with worms produces less specific aroma than conventional methods.
- All inclusive. Biohumus contains potassium, phosphorus and nitrogen, the three most important nutrients for plant growth. It also contains trace minerals and minerals that are not always found in commercial fertilizers. Adding worm compost to the beds helps to regulate the pH of the soil. Vermicompost protects the soil by absorbing salt ions, and naturally stabilizes the pH so that the plants develop well and bear fruit.
- Suitable for city farmers and home crop production. Traditional compost is usually made in a heap or wooden crate at the site. Vermicompost due to the acceleration of the process can be produced in the apartment for feeding homemade tomatoes, herbs or flowers.
What do you need
Not all worms are equally good for vermicomposting. You need red wigglers (Eisenia fetida) or red worms (Lumbricus rubellus).
It is often difficult for a beginner to distinguish between types of worms, therefore it is easier to acquire worms for compost than to look for them in nature. If you do not have a local supplier, online sales are popular. About 200 grams of worms are needed to process 200 grams of food waste per day.
The first thing you need to have on hand after ordering the worms is a container, a plastic bin will do.
Interestingly, in the wake of the fashion for vermicultivation, the German company Blanco created a compost bucket made of stainless steel, designed to be built into the kitchen worktop. There is no need for a container taking up space at the sink, and the only thing visible is the metal lid.
If for a moment we digress from the topic of worms, it can be noted that the ecological fashion for home compost has made a lot of money.
So, in the American market, the $ 400 stainless steel NatureMill ultra-composter made its debut. The company introduced it as a new generation kitchen appliance in which electric heating is used to accelerate the decomposition of waste. The waste is mixed automatically. And unlike traditional composters, NatureMill processes dairy products and meat.
But back to vermicomposting.
The container should be large enough to accommodate as much food waste as your family forms. Make sure that the selected container has drainage holes at the bottom and holes for air ventilation from the top and side. Drill 8-12 holes at the bottom of the drainage container and 7-10 holes on each side.
Worms prefer darkness. That is, the bucket should be dark in color with a lid.
The container must be clean. Rinse it to get rid of residues that could harm the worms. If you use a wooden box, line the bottom and sides with plastic, for example, place an old shower curtain or a clean trash bag inside.
Newspapers are the most commonly used material for worm composting. Cut the newspaper into 3 cm strips and try not to use color printing, because it can be toxic and harmful to worms. If using cardboard, tear it into small pieces.
Dampen the paper to the consistency of a wet sponge, place in a container and add a few strips of dry material to make sure the moisture level is correct. After that, fill the container with enough paper until the capacity is 3/4 full. Then add 2-4 cups of soil.
Tamping is not necessary. Worms thrive in a well-ventilated area.
Now carefully place the worms on the litter and close the bucket. Store in a cool, dark place, but as far away as possible from washing machines, dishwashers, and dryers, because the worms are sensitive to vibration. The best place in the apartment would be kitchen cabinets, toilets and basements.
What to feed. You can use any crushed vegetable waste, eggshells, bread, pasta, paper.
Not suitable: salted foods, spicy foods, oils, foods with preservatives, meat and dairy products.
After a month, take out gently shake the contents of the bucket on a sunny day on a spread newspaper. After a couple of hours, the worms will move to the very bottom, leaving you with a pyramid of ready-made compost.
Do you know that in the world the practice of vermicomposting is used not only by home growers and gardeners?
Charlotte Douglas North Carolina International Airport has ordered about 2 million red wigglers to “recycle” their organic waste (kitchen waste and discarded products from both the terminal and arriving aircraft). Result? The company reduced waste collection to a local landfill by 70%. Another example is California Soils, which attracts worms to recycle old cardboard, down to glue (it turns out that glue is a source of nitrogen).