is known to be the world's best fertiliser and it is known
to change the look of your garden. Vermicompost means that
the worms are kept in a bin with shredded paper or other biodegradable
bedding. You feed them food waste that you get from your kitchen.
They feed on the food waste and digest the waste and bedding
then excrete nutrient-rich castings. After a few months, the
castings combined with the well-decomposed bedding, become
vermicompost -- one of the richest soil improvements around.
It is a simple method and it does wonders on your garden,
plants, flowers and vegetable garden.
start Vermicompost you will require the following things.
For worm containers use wooden boxes, metal tubs and plastic
basins, provided they allow good air circulation. The worm
container should be shallow and not too deep, no more than
18 inches deep. To determine the size of bin you need, you'll
need to calculate how much food waste your family creates
in an average week. For example: If your household creates
an average of four pounds of food waste each week, a 2x2'
bin should be adequate. The bin should have the greatest surface
area for proper air circulation and for dumping more food
waste. For proper air circulation drill 1/4" drainage holes
through the bottom of your bin. For example for plastic, drill
14-20 holes, 9-12 holes for a wooden container. Raise the
bin up on bricks or wooden blocks, and place a tray or a sheet
of plastic underneath. Put your bin in some comfortable place,
and where worms won't be subjected to extreme temperatures.
Worms like temperatures ranging from 55-77° F.
Bedding giving worms a place to work and rest. It also helps
hold moisture in your box. Use light, fluffy biodegradable
materials free from pesticides or chemicals. For perfect bedding
tear newspaper (without the colour comics and glossy advertisements)
into thin strips, the thinner the better. You can also use
shredded cardboard. Put some sand in to the bedding since
it contributes nutrients and grit to help worms digest food
waste. Periodically sprinkle small amounts of crushed eggshells
or ground limestone, which is a good source of calcium. Plan
on 5 to 8 pounds of bedding for a 2'x2' box. Place the bedding
in a clean trashcan or other large container. Pour in three
pounds of water per pound of dry bedding, and mix well. Note
that the bedding should be uniformly damp, but not dripping
wet. Toss in a handful of soil, crushed eggshells, or other
additives. Lift and fluff the bedding to aerate then put it
into the bin. Sprinkle the worms over the surface of the bedding,
gently untwining any wiggling clumps. Place a bright overhead
light over the bin and the worms will burrow down into the
bedding. It is advisable to leave a light on your worm box
for the first three or four days. After a few days the worms
will settle down and do their best.
The best worms for vermicomposting are red worms (Eisenia
foetida or Lumbricus rubellus). The red worm is capable of
reproducing quickly in captivity, while munching profuse quantities
of food waste. If your bin is a 2x2' bin then use one pound
of worms (1000 worms). You can buy worms from garden centres
Worms are not picky eaters; they will munch on just about
anything. Give your worms peels and other vegetable waste.
However while giving them banana waste don't put the peel
because banana peel attracts fruit flies. You can even toss
in coffee filters and tea bags, but do take off the tea bag
tag and the little metal. You can also put plate scrapes,
eggshells in the bin. Things that are absolutely No-No are
meat and bone, dog and cat litter, plastic, glass, aluminium
foil and other non-biodegradable items.
FEEDING THE WORMS
To feed the worms divide the bin in four sections. Bury scraps
under a few inches of bedding in the first section and cover
it with loose plastic or newspaper. After 4/5 days its time
to feed the worms again and then fill the scrapes in the second
section. This way you can fill all the sections and you don't
have to dig into the waste. Remember red worms are voracious
eaters but your bin should not smell of bad odour. If that
is the case then you have added too much of food and the worms
are finding it difficult to cope up. Stir the bedding to aerate,
cover the box and add no more food until the smell hasn't
gone. Worms are low-maintenance, and you can skip two or three
weeks without feeding them. Any longer than that, and you'll
have a big box of dead worms.
The method of harvesting is very simple. Put on your rubber
gloves. Place a large sheet of plastic on the floor or on
a table. Pour the entire contents of the bin onto the sheet.
Shape the compost into cone-shaped mounds. Then shine a bright
light above the mounds; this will drive the worms toward the
bottom interior of each mound. Wait 5-10 minutes, and then
gently scrape off the layers of vermicompost until all you
have left is worms. Put the worms into a temporary storage
container while you clean out the bin and fill it with fresh
bedding. You may see tiny, lemon-shaped cocoons; these contain
baby worms, so be sure to add them to the new bin. Bury food
scraper for four months and you will get a nice box full of
vermicompost after leaving the bin alone for three to four