Bali Sandblasting

Transforming Bali, One Blast At A Time

Earthworm Farming: An Old Farming Technique Makes a Comeback

Earthworm Farming: An Old Farming Technique Makes a Comeback

Earthworm farming, also known as vermicomposting, is a natural method of composting kitchen scraps, leaves, and garden wastes into organic fertilizer. The vermicast or vermicompost produced from worm farming contains nutrients and microorganisms that are beneficial to plants. Vermicompost is an excellent fertilizer and soil conditioner. Some people own a worm farming business and produce compost commercially.

Earthworm Farming 101

Earthworms have simple needs. For a successful worm farm, make sure the medium remains moist but not soggy. The medium should also be protected against drying and cold temperature.

To prepare the worm farm, start by choosing the worm bedding such as sawdust, shredded paper, leaves, dirt, or a combination of these. Peat moss is good for earthworms but is expensive. The bedding can be mixed with 40% to 50% manure. Wet the mixture with enough water to make it moist but not soggy. Set the medium aside for about two weeks to allow time for decomposition. Do not introduce the worms during the decomposition stage when the temperature can get high. The earthworms should be added only after the medium cools down.

Choosing The Right Earthworms

There are over 4,000 species of earthworms but only a few species are used for vermicomposting. The species used by most people worldwide for worm farming is the “red wriggler.” Ordinary garden worms cannot be used for vermicomposting. For your earthworm farm you will need about 1,000 worms, or roughly a pound. You can purchase earthworms by the pound from a worm grower.

Feeding Your Earthworms

The earthworms will feed on the composted organic material in the bedding. You can add kitchen garbage and garden trash into the medium. Leaves, chopped unused fruits and vegetables, eggshells, etc. can be fed to your earthworms. Avoid adding dairy products, oil and meat.

Earthworms can consume kitchen and household waste equal to their weight daily. Be sure to add just enough food for the worms to consume in one day. This will prevent the worm bin from becoming smelly. As the worm population grows, you will be able to add more kitchen waste.

Harvesting The Vermicast

Earthworm waste or vermicast is a rich organic fertilizer and excellent soil conditioner. You will find the vermicast or vermicompost on the top layer of the worm bin. It resembles dark, crumbly soil with the odor of fresh-turned earth. To harvest, simply scrape it off the top. Vermicompost from earthworm farming improves soil quality and is essential to organic farming.