Worm Composting and Organic Gardening
Worm composting, also known as vermicomposting or vermiculture, refers to the use of worms to recycle organic material such as vegetable peelings and other food scraps into nutrient-rich compost. In addition to creating a good soil conditioner for your garden, worm composting saves space in the landfill, and thus it helps you conserve the environment. Whether you have a garden or live in an apartment, you could practice worm composting and organic gardening. And reap numerous benefits that you can practice both indoors and outdoors. This article outlines the basics of vermiculture, how it can help your organic gardening and its importance to the environment. So, let’s learn about worm composting.
The following are some advantages of worm composting:
- It requires very little space
- It doesn’t produce odors when done correctly
- It can be done both indoors and outdoors
- It takes only a short time to process organic waste
- It helps save money that would have been used to buy fertilizers, pesticides, and soil conditioners
- It produces the best organic fertilizer known to man – Worm Castings
- It increases the population of earthworms, which can improve your garden’s soil
- It helps create a steady supply of big, fat worms that are ideal for fishing
- It needs very little maintenance – 10 minutes per week is enough
- You can turn it into a worm composting business
How to go about Worm Composting and Organic Gardening
Worm composting is usually done in a bin, as it creates the perfect environment for worms to transform organic waste into fertilizer. It’s imperative that you set up and maintain proper living conditions for worms to ensure their survival. These conditions include the following:
- Climate control
- Adequate airflow
- Enough moisture
- Adequate food
The worms digest the food scraps, and then they release castings, which are rich in nitrogen and phosphorus. The castings are highly concentrated in nutrients, and so you can use them sparingly, a little goes a long way.
Where to do Worm Composting and Organic Gardening
You can practice worm composting both indoors and outdoors. Are you wondering how apartment dwellers can do worm composting? Well, they may not have a backyard, but they may own houseplants, which would benefit a lot from fertilizers. Fortunately, vermiculture doesn’t need a lot of space. In fact, a depth of eight inches and a surface area of one square foot is enough.
Since you can do in your house, it means that you can practice worm composting all year round.
Dealing with Odor
In case you live in an apartment, you may have concerns with regard to odor. Luckily, when done correctly, vermicomposting does not produce odor. To prevent the production of bad smell, don’t overload the bin with food. Then, ensure that the container gets good ventilation and make sure the bin does not get too wet.
The Cost of Vermiculture
Vermiculture is all about recycling, and as such, it’s very affordable. As a matter of fact, it’s possible to practice worm composting without spending a penny. However, it would be good to consider purchasing the worms, as this would eliminate the trouble of finding enough of them to process your organic waste.
Where to Buy Worms
You can get your worms right here at RAWkin Worm Farm, just check out our products here.
When fed well and kept in suitable conditions, worms can double their population every two to three months. Therefore, it would good to consider starting out with few worms, around two pounds and expect their population to increase with time.
Feeding Your Worms
Worms typically feed on most food scraps, including the following:
- Vegetable peelings
- Coffee grounds
- Pulverized egg shells
- Tea bags
Avoid tossing the following food wastes into the bin:
- Meat scraps
- Oily food
- Dairy products
This is because they may produce a foul smell and attract rodents and flies.
On the other hand, there are certain materials that you shouldn’t place in the bin, and they include the following:
- Aluminum foil
- Paper with colored printing
- Colored ink
- Rubber bands
Consider feeding the worms once per week in little amounts. If you feed them excessively, they may not be able to process all the waste, which may result in the creation of odor.
Note, worm compost doesn’t smell. The bad smell comes from decaying food that the worms are yet to eat. If you give them just enough for them to process, they will eat it before it starts rotting, and thus there will be no smell. You could also chop up the food scraps to make it easier for the worms to eat.
Harvesting the Compost
As the worms process your organic waste, they reduce the contents of the bin, until all that is left is brown, earthy-looking worm compost. When your bin reaches this point, it’s now time to harvest the compost and grant your worm’s new bedding. You can do the harvesting anywhere between every two months and every six months. This depends on the number of worms you have and the amount of food you give them.
To do the harvesting, dump the worm castings onto a big plastic sheet and separate the worms from the castings; remember to wear gloves when doing the separation. Once you’ve removed all the casts, consider keeping aside some of it and mix it with the new bedding of the next cycle.
Whether you live in an apartment decorated with potted plants or you own a backyard garden, worm composting and organic gardening will prove to be very useful. Utilize the compost to enrich your soil and ensure your plants are healthy. Did you know that worm compost also makes excellent mulch?
Worm composting and organic gardening is hassle-free, and it not only improves your plants but also helps you conserve the environment.
Are you considering starting some worm composting and organic gardening? Feel free to let us know. Your feedback is always appreciated.