Vermiculture : using worms to make compost: the use of specially bred worms to convert organic matter into compost
Vermicompost is the product or process of composting utilizing various species of worms, specifically red wigglers,white worms, and earthworms creating the heterogeneous mixture of decomposing vegetable or food waste, bedding materials, and pure vermicast produced during the course of normal vermiculture operations.
Simple definition – bin + worms + kitchen scraps = worm poop for your plants!
Okay, maybe it’s not quite that simple…well, I guess it can’t be cuz they’ve written books about this subject.
I did take a composting class at the Georgia Organics Conference this last weekend and Duane Marcus discussed vermiculture and really, it didn’t seem so complicated. I started my own on Monday!
Here’s what happened. One of the ladies who stayed at our farm for the weekend, brought me some vermicompost, i.e. wormcastings, worm poop. What a great gift!! She lives in an apartment and figured this was a “farm” hobby she could do without disturbing her neighbors 🙂
When she handed me the plastic bag, she showed me the little worm eggs and the couple of little tiny worms in the casting. I was so excited! These were Red Wigglers and they’re great composters.
After the composting class, I decided to start our own worm bin to keep in the kitchen. I realized that the compost wouldn’t be as fast as if I had purchased a whole pound of worms but I was willing to wait for these little guys to grow and multiply.
I found a bin with a lid in our basement. Squish and I shredded paper for the bottom of the bin. Apparently, these critters like to gnaw on paper.
Actually, they like it a little soggy…
After Squish added water to the paper, she mixed it up with her hands.
Next we added some compost to the bin and then added the bag of vermicompost with the worm eggs and little bitty worms.
Squish had a good time trying to find the little worms…
And to add spice to their lives, Squish and I went outside to collect some leaves for their home.
Squish put these on top of the compost and then we put the lid on top of the bin.
My worm bin now resides in my kitchen, underneath a little table in the corner. I did pop the lid a bit so there is air flow for the bin.
We’ll see what happens, but I’m pretty excited!
I talked with a gal in my Master Gardening class and she works at UGA in the research department for worms. Yep – it’s a real job! I talked with her at class and she said you could use any worm you find in your yard. They may not work as fast as the Red Wiggler but here’s the deal. The Red Wiggler isn’t native to America and it’s become an invasive pest, changing the ecological design of our forest floors. She said, more than likely you already have them in your yard – that’s how wide spread they’ve become.
And if you would like further information about worm composting – here’s the information from the site of the gentleman who taught our class- Duane Marcus. He was fabulous!