Worm farming, also known as vermiculture, is a method of utilizing worms for composting foods and other organic materials to create nutrient rich fertilizers or hummus. When worms eat the organic materials they excrete waste that is rich in fertile nutrients essential for a healthy garden. Vermiculture is different from most aerobic composting because it can be done inside and it produces a higher quality fertilizer than traditional kitchen composting methods.
How do I Raise Worms? Getting Started with Worm Farming
All successful worm farms start with a good worm bin. You can purchase a worm bin online, or simply create your own. When you create your own there are a few easy steps that you will need to follow.
1. Procure a Vermiculture container. A 5-gallon tub is the most commonly used container when first starting.
2. Drill several small holes in the bottom of the container. This prevents water from collecting at the bottom of the barrel and drowning the worms. If you are raising your worms indoors, place your bin in a planting dish or clay planting pot to prevent a mess.
3. Fill your bin with unbleached shredded newspaper. This provides a good source of fiber.
4. Spread a layer of dirt on top of the shredded newspaper and wet thoroughly.
5. Cover the top of the bin to prevent light from drying out your compost. Bins should not be stored in direct sunlight, or excessive heat. Most often the bins are stored inside a house or garage. This allows for the optimal fertilization process.
What Type of Worms Are Best for Vermiculture?
The most common worm used to farm is the Red Wiggler. The Red Wiggler’s ability to reproduce rapidly and consume large amounts of compost makes them ideal for your worm farm. One pound of worms is the recommended amount for your 5-gallon bin. Earthworms are also a good breed to use. They are much larger than the Red Wigglers and have the ability to decompose much tougher cardboards, but don’t reproduce as quickly as the Red Wigglers.
Feeding Your Farm - What Do You Feed Red Worms?
Your worms will eat almost anything you do! Throw in our food scraps like egg shells, fruit peels, grain based foods, and even coffee grounds. When you collect your food scraps we suggest first fermenting them in our Bokashi Recycling System which softens the composted food waste making it easier for the worms to eat. When you feed your worms you want to make sure that you mix their food with some newspaper shreds. Mixing in the food causes the worms to have to do less work and eat faster, and reduces the fruit flies around your bin.
After you have set up your bin and added your worms, you need to continue feeding them as they create the compost materials. Remember to add fermented food wastes from your Bokashi Recycling System to speed up the process and create the most fertile compost. After 4-5 months you can collect your compost and restart the process. When you collect your compost make sure to save as many worms as you can and start the process over. Once you start over your worms will continue to reproduce and your farm will be filled with new, healthy worms in no time!