What is Vermiculture?
Also known as worm farming, Vermiculture is the process in which some special species of earthworm are used, such as E. foetida, Eisenia fetida (also known as brandling, red wigglers or manure worm), and Lumbricus Rubellus to produce worm compost or vermicompost, vermicast, worm poop, worm castings, worm manure or worm humus. It is natural, healthy fertilizer and soil conditioner.
Unlike composting, you can also carry out vermiculture on your apartment’s balcony, in your house’s basement, or in a heated garage if worm bin is well maintained to keep odors at bay.
Worm Bins can also –
Boost the fertilization process by months
Consume pure kitchen waste, without requiring soil or garden waste
Easily manage paper with food inside.
They are much smaller as compared to compost bins
Vermiculture is very useful in developing nations where you can hardly obtain fertilizers. It can easily convert food scraps, animal waste and various inactive organic elements into nutritious fertilizer. It can easily fertilize your home garden and produce a lot of quality food for your family.
Which Breeds of Worms Used in Vermiculture?
Worms are supposed to be the important part of composting. Some of the commonly used worms are E. foetida and E. fetida. Worms are used to transform organic matter into compost. We choose worms according to the amount of organic matter you need to compost. Every week, worms usually eat most of their body weight. There are different factors affecting frequency of composting.
What Should You Feed Worms?
Worms usually eat food scraps from your kitchen like vegetable and fruit trimmings, carrot tops, lettuce leaves, orange peels, ground egg shells, banana peels.
You can also feed in grass clippings, yard trimmings, mulch and leaves
Where to Keep Worms?
Eisenia Fetida or Red Worms are best breed of composting worms. These surface worms live at the 18 inches of soil. Keep them in closed container if you want to continue the process. Harvest the worms away from the castings in every 3 months. They are easy to care but they need proper oxygen, food, moisture and dark space to live.
How to Produce Vermicompost?
Vermicompost is a process which needs various worms (especially red wigglers), cow dung or buffalo dung, carbonic waste, water, shelter and a lot of space. It is believed that you can produce vermicompost only in the pit or tank. However, you no longer need to create a pit for it. You can make it on any raw or hard surface at a shaded place.
First of all, fresh dung is collected and dried unless it is half baked. Thereafter, it is saturated with water to take its temperature down by 10 to 30 Degrees Celsius. This type of half-baked dung is used to feed in worms.
If animal waste is not available, you can use garbage, crop residues, kitchen waste, leaves, fruit trimmings etc. Then collect these up and saturate with water and leave all the waste for 20 to 22 days unless it is partly rotten. You can use this rotten waste to feed in earthworms.
How to Construct Shed and Worm Bedding?
According to the availability of space, you can easily increase or decrease length and width of shed for the construction of vermi compost.
Hari Om Vermi Compost is engaged in construction of 20 hut-like sheds of 27×100 dimensions. For this type of construction, we use 10 poles which are 12 ft. high, at the center of spilling by keeping the distance of 10 feet. They are buried 2 ft. under the surface. Thereafter, we bury 10 poles (that are 9 ft. high) opposite to those poles under 2 ft. Then, the bamboo roof is constructed and covered with leaves, grass and green net to make a well-covered and insulated shed.
What to Consider when Producing Vermicompost?
Keep the shed covered with dried grass, leaves, green net and jute sacks to ensure proper air flow and temperature control under the dark shed. Stop watering under the shed after 7 to 8 days of removing compost.
Make sure to avoid overflow of water under the beds during the whole composting process because it can create problems in future.
Store the prepared composed in cool and shaded place so that the healthy microorganisms may not be affected too much due to increased temperature, and small worms and cocoons remain safe.
Be sure to maintain the temperature of bed by 10 to 30 degrees. The activity of worms is affected in low temperature. If the temperature is increased, they may not be able to survive.
Don’t put fresh dung on the beds because putting a lot of wet dung can create heat and worms may be affected with it.
Be sure to remove prepared composts from the bed on timely basis.