How to Grow Worm Compost at Home?
This is an easy, fun and educational way to compost and improves the soil of your banks and vegetable gardens, and to maintain a beautiful lawn…Use the voracious appetite of the peaceful, discreet worms, at the same time respecting the environment.
So what exactly is worm composting?
Worm composting consists of producing compost by using worms. Red Californian worms are used because they consume a huge amount of waste. They eat decomposing organic material. They then discharge little excretions which enrich the soil. Each day, they can absorb and excrete the equivalent of their own weight. Worms also dig tunnels and ventilate the earth. This helps root the plants and develop micro-organisms. Red Californian worms produce a rich compost with a healthy humus smell.
Compost is produced after about two or three months. The red worms are very prolific. After three weeks of incubation, the eggs hatch and each egg produce up to twenty baby worms. These reach sexual maturity in three months – then they start to reproduce again.
Using Worm Compost
- Add a fine layer on top of the earth in your pots and window boxes.
- You can add the compost directly to your repotting mixture.
- In your sowing drills in the garden.
- Spread a thin layer on your lawn.
Worm compost is very stable and there is no risk of burning.
How Does a Worm Composter Work?
The worm composter is a type of box placed directly on the ground. This area should be fairly sheltered, and not exposed to extreme temperatures. If you are in a mountainous region with very low below-zero temperatures, protect your worm composter in a garage or put bales of hay around the box.
Ideal temperatures are between 8 and 27°C but worms can survive in below-zero temperatures (their activity is slowed down) and in positive temperatures less than 26°C (always keep the bedding humid).
Maintenance consists of feeding your worms with food waste. Worms can be fed at any time of the day. Don’t worry if you have to go away for a few days or weeks, just leave them a layer of food before going. If you go away in Summer, ask the neighbor who waters your garden to humidify your bedding while he’s at it.
How Much Food?
It depends on the amount of worms you have. They eat their own weight each day and double their population every two or three months. If you start with 1,000 worms, that is 500g. of adult worms (they can be identified by their rings), they will eat up to 500g. of waste per day. The population will have doubled after a few months and you can feed them more.
Should we water?
The bedding should always be humid without being drenched, especially in hot weather. Humidity and heat favor reproduction.
Is there a risk of having too many worms?
No, you can never have too many worms. They regulate their population according to the space available and the amount of food.
Earthworms – Those Fertilizing, Rototilling Wonders in your Soil
The many virtues of the lowly earthworm have long been recognized, with Cleopatra famously declaring them to be sacred – they benefited Egyptian farmers that much. Then Charles Darwin deemed them worthy of 40 years of study and wrote a whole book about them.
Here in North America, the original earthworms were killed off during the last Ice Age, leaving very little of the land suitable for farming. The few worms that did survive are poor soil-builders and wiggle off to undisturbed parts at the first sign of farming. That’s why America’s organic farmers have turned to European earthworms to make the soil fertile to be productive.
So how do earthworms help? Where to start! First, their castings are high-test compost packed with nutrients. And by burrowing through the soil they leave passageways for air and water, which relieves compaction and improves drainage. As if that isn’t enough, earthworms discourage harmful insects and disease while promoting beneficial soil bacteria. Studies have shown that the introduction of earthworms to farmland has resulted in yields increasing by as much as 20-fold!
Don’t have em’? How to get ’em
In a typical quarter-acre garden there could be as many as 125,000 earthworms, or there could be none. Though gardening will usually attract earthworms, the use of synthetic fertilizers, herbicides and insecticides make the soil too toxic for them to survive, much less thrive. So if your soil is missing these miracle critters, the first step is to stop using toxic products. Then if you just spread a 2-3 inch layer of organic matter on top of the soil ever year (keeping it away from the stems of your plants), worms will magically appear. They come for the delicious organic-matter dinner and stay to reproduce like the hedonists they are.
Leafmold, which is simply chopped-up and partially decomposed leaves, maybe the best earthworm meal there is and it’s definitely my favorite mulch. My town collects our leaves in the fall, chops them up, and offers them back to us the following spring as leafmold, and if you don’t do that, now’s a good time to make a pitch for such a win-win recycling program.
Another option is to jump-start your garden’s earthworm population by ordering them in Amazon. Just scatter them on the ground and in about 3 months they’re all grown up, making babies, and working hard to improve your soil.
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