photo credit: Mike the Gardener
WHAT IS VERMICOMPOST?Vermicompost is nothing more than the waste product from worms after they have eaten organic material such as food scraps. Vermicompost is one of the best forms of fertilizer that you can add to your home vegetable garden to grow your best vegetables, fruits and herbs.
WHAT DO YOU NEED TO CREATE VERMICOMPOST?It is also very easy to create your very own vermicompost at home. All you need are some worms, red wigglers, a bin to house them in and food to feed them.
WHAT KIND OF WORMS SHOULD I USE FOR MY VERMICOMPOST?So let’s start with the worms. You can use a lot of different worms, but out of all of the research I have read, red wigglers, are the ideal solution. These are your basic garden variety worms available, more than likely (depending on where you live), right in your own backyard. You can also purchase a few hundred of these from your local bait store or even online at Amazon for about $12.
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WHAT DO I HOUSE MY WORMS IN?Any basic bin or container will do. As you can see in my video I use a worm tower that I received as a gift from a fellow gardener. These can get pricey depending on the size that you purchase. They are also very versatile since they come with various trays so you can create vermicompost in small batches without having to do too much work to move your worm population around.
The way my worm tower works is, I start with 1 tray, fill it with some basic organic material (I’ll talk more about that in a moment), add worms, some water for moisture since worms need a moist environment to breathe and sit back and wait. When the tray’s contents are consumed by the worms, I add a second tray, repeating the process and when the worms move to the new tray where all of their food is I harvest the vermicompost from the original tray and the process starts over. Makes sense right?
You can duplicate this process with any bin. Just make sure your bin has drainage holes in the bottom and air holes in the top. You can do a quick google search on vermicompost bin ideas.
WHAT DO I FEED MY WORMS?Your food scraps and other organic material are the best items to feed your worms. For example, I will throw in my worm tower, eggshells, non dairy and non meat food scraps, shredded paper or cardboard, some leaves, and peat moss to name a few items. Remember this is not a garbage bin. Your worms are not going to eat plastic, aluminum cans and so on. You have to feed them things they will eat. You will also want to make sure those items are broken down into smaller portions which is why you will see plenty of shredded paper in my bins. The worms will consume them much faster when they are smaller.
HOW DO I KNOW WHEN MY VERMICOMPOST IS READY?You will know your vermicompost is ready because your bin or tray will look like a dark crumbly dirt as opposed to the food scraps you originally have thrown in there. There are plenty of ways to harvest your newly made vermicompost, however, for me, I find just taking the entire tray of vermicompost and mixing it in with my garden soil works best. Removing any worms first, of course, so I can continue the process.
Some people like to sift it to remove any larger scrap items like twigs or eggshells, but for me, I don’t mind adding some of those into the garden. They will break down eventually and add nutrients to my soil. Keeping your garden’s soil full of nutrients is vital to a healthy and productive garden. Constantly adding vermicompost to your soil will go a long way to make sure your soil is the best it can possibly be for your plants.
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