Organic Gardening (Worm Composting, Vermiculture)

Field & Cluster
Agriculture Agriculture, Food & Natural Resources
Equipment/Materials Needed

2- 5gal buckets
old newspaper
food scraps
drill
composting worms




worms
Description


Learn how to create compost with worms, also known as vermicomposting.


Badge Completion Requirements

Composting with Worms (Vermiculture)

Vermiculture is the process of using worms to decompose organic food waste, turning the waste into a nutrient-rich material capable of supplying necessary nutrients to help sustain plant growth. This method is simple, effective, convenient, and noiseless. It saves water, energy, landfills, and helps rebuild the soil.

Worms eat food scraps, which become compost as they pass through the worm's body. The food material enters the worms bacteria-rich gut and exits as worm castings. This worm casting compost can then be used to grow plants.  Remember that the worms are eating nutrient-rich fruit and vegetable scraps, and turning them into nutrient-rich compost.

We recommend using only raw fruit and vegetable scraps. It's important not to include meats, oils, and dairy products, which are more complex materials than fruits and vegetables. Thus, they take longer to break down and can attract pests. It's also advisable to not include citrus fruit like oranges, grapefruit or lemons as the citrus fruit is high in acidity and will attract fruit flies and other unwanted pests.

Worm casting compost can be used in several ways. You can use your compost immediately, or you can dry and store the worm casting and use it during the gardening season, or whenever. The compost can be directly mixed with your potting soil or garden soil as a soil amendment, which helps make nutrients available to plants. Or, the compost can be used as a top dressing for your indoor or outdoor plants.

You can also make "compost tea" with your compost. Simply add 1-2" of compost to your water can or rain barrel. Allow compost and water to "steep" for a day, mixing occasionally. Then water plants as you normally would. The resulting "tea" helps make nutrients already in the soil available to plants. 

 

First, let's talk about making a worm bin:

Now adding worms and starting the worm farm

For those interested in keeping composting worms I would like to suggest that you take the time to visit Uncle Jim's Worm Farm at https://www.google.com/search?q=uncle+jim+worm+farm&oq=Uncle+Jim+&aqs=chrome.1.69i57j0l5.6133j0j7&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8 for addition housing suggestions and care.

Build and populate a composting worm bin. Keep the worm bin operational for 2 months. During the two months evaluate the condition of the worms, castings and worm compost tea on a weekly bases. Develop and submit a presentation that demonstrates your construction of the worm farm and its overall productivity. Keep track of the amount of food you input and the amount of compost and tea generated.