What is Worm Composting?
Worm Composting is an aerobic process where worms process organic waste. The worms work with the micro-organisms and even feed on the micro-organisms. They help break down the organic waste and aerate the material. The worms and micro-organisms process the organic waste in this optimal environment. Material processed by worms does not generate heat like micro-organisms do in thermophilic composting. Also, organic waste processed by composting worms takes only weeks instead of months. Worms also can process the organic waste in weeks instead of months. Furthermore, Worm Composting only needs small amounts of material unlike thermophilic composting. When worms eat the material the result is worm poop, aka “Castings”. Vermicompost contains a high percentage of these castings.
Thermophilic Composting, known as hot composting is an aerobic process. This requires mixing the carbon rich and nitrogen rich materials, moisture and oxygen in the proper ratios. These conditions become a breeding ground for micro-organisms which begin to process the material. As they process this material they generate heat. As the heat rises a different group of micro-organisms that take over in this hotter environment. This processing of organic waste continues until the majority of the energy has been used. Organic waste is broken down into what is known as Humus. This Humus is a great soil amendment which basically works like an organic fertilizer for plants.
In the book Vermiculture Technology, we are given a thorough definition of what Vermicompost is. “Vermicompost is a finely divided peat-like material with high porosity and water holding capacity. It is a low C: N ratio (carbon: nitrogen ratio) material. It contains many nutrients in forms that are readily taken up by plants. High rates of mineralization occur in the organic matter-rich earthworm casts. This greatly enhances the availability of inorganic nutrients, particularly ammonium and nitrates but also phosphorus, potassium, calcium, and magnesium for plants. Vermicompost also contains plant growth hormones produced by the microorganisms, and plant growth regulators such as Humates. The production of which microorganisms also play a role” (Vermiculture Technology by Clive A. Edwards, Norman Q. Arancon, and Rhonda L. Sherman).
It’s Easy and Fun
Everyone has leftover food waste, newspaper, and leftover cardboard from those packages we get in the mail. You can start with only a simple container, a pound of composting worms and a little bit of knowledge. The container can me a simple plastic storage bin. The composting worms, Red Wigglers or our Compost Worm Mix. Finally, The Worm Blog, produced each week, will give you the knowledge you need to be successful. You can help decrease the waste going to the landfills and water processing facilities. And the vermicompost, you produce will be better than any man-made fertilizer you buy. Worm Composting is easy to start and maintain, can be done indoors or outdoors without any bad odors, or mess. You will be surprised at how fun it is to watch your food waste turn into an amazing material that helps plants grow and thrive.