Using worms for composting can be an easy way to deal with unused food waste, kitchen scraps, and many other products that would typically be thrown away. Vermicomposting has been a long used method for dealing with many forms of waste products, and creating what organic gardeners call black gold. Worm castings which some people refer to as “black gold” is a byproduct of vermicomposting. Worm Castings is just a watered down word for worm poop.
The benefits for worm casting sin the garden are to numerous to list, but increased soil health, plant vigor, and much needed nutrients, are just the start of what worm castings can do for your organic garden. Buying worm castings and having them shipped can be a costly endeavor for some, but making them at home is a cheap alternative that can be done by most anyone.
Starting a worm bin, or worm farm doesn't have to be costly. You can use something as simple as a plastic storage tote with holes drilled in it. There are some basic design elements of worm farm that nee to be followed, but there are no set rules and experimenting is always a good thing.
Putting a layer of bedding in the bottom of your worm bin before you add your compostable material is always a good idea. Then pile up our compostable material followed with another layer of bedding. Bedding material can be scrap paper, newspaper, coco coir, or many other alternatives. Using what you have readily available is always the best place to start. Using a multi-tote worm farm can be make harvesting your worm tea and castings and easier process. With a multi-tote setup you can have one tote collecting the castings while below it you can extract worm tea, and fill containers with a built in tap.
If you aren't up to making a worm farm, there are many ready made options n the market. Worm bins come in so many different designs and variations. A lot of worm farms are expandable and as your needs grow so can the size of your worm farm. They can be made from injection molded plastic, wood, and many other types of materials. Their function is very similar to the home plastic tote style worm farm that was described before. The will have an area for the worms to work, with castings falling below that, and the tea falling down through the castings. Some will have a spigot for tapping into your tea supply, while some will have a catch basin. There really are limitless options out there for worm farm designs.
What kind of worms are best for composting?
There are many types of worms used in composting, red wigglers being the most widely used. Red wigglers are prolific eaters, and multiply at a fast rate. They come in different varieties, Eisenia fetida, eisenia hortensis,Perionyx excavatus are a few of the popular species. Our Red wiggler composting worms mix is composed of a blend of these different types of composting worms, which will ensure that all layers of your soil, food scraps, etc.. will get worked. Since different worm species work different layers of the soil, using a blend of red wiggler composting worms is the best way to get the most out of your vermicomposting.
Super Reds AKA European Nightcrawlers, are a larger red worm that is a veracious eater. They work well in garden beds, and lawns. They can be added to no-till living soil containers for added aeration and a natural way to cycle nutrients. Nightcrawlers are 4” to 5” long which is much bigger than a traditional composting worm. They work well in composting bins, and worm farms, but perform best in larger amounts of soil. They can run deeper in your soil so they are a good option for using worms in a commercial indoor marijuana grow.
How many worms do I need?
This is a very broad question to ask. Keep in mind that worms to produce at a fast rate. What you start with may be tripled in as little as 6 moths. Also keep n mind that worms will sefl-regulate their numbers. This is important in living soil containers and beds. For vermicomosting you will want to start with as many worms as possible. We have noticed that in a vermicomposting situation that has only started with 1000 to 2000 worms, it took many months, and up to a year to see any kind of noticeable increase in numbers. 5000 to 10,000 red wigglers would be a good start to most worm farms.
When using worms in a living soil containers that will be used in a no-till farming method we prefer to start with plenty of worms so you get the most bang for your buck right out of the gate. In a 30 gallon container a couple of hundred worms is a great place to start. You will get the benefits of worm composting right in your pots immediately. No need to wait for the worm population to increase in numbers. If you start with say 100 worms, which will work, it may take you 3 to 6 months for that container to have adequate numbers for maximum benefits.
Buying live red wiggler composting worms couldn't be easier, and making your own worm farm is just as easy. There seems to be no limit on the design options, and it can be done in any size space. Stop throwing your food scraps away, and make your plants happy by making your own black gold right at home.