Vermicompost refers to the use of worms to process kitchen waste and convert it into nutrient-rich compost for use in your garden, as a top dressing for houseplants, or as a great starter soil for seedlings.
I am just getting started with this hobby, having completed the first step – reading the classic title Worms Eat My Garbage by Mary Appelhof. The second step is to determine how much kitchen waste my home produces on a weekly basis (so far, after two weeks, we produce about 300 grams per day, or 2.1 kg per week on average). I’ve also scouted out what I think will be the perfect worm bin. All that is left is to prepare their home, purchase the worms, and get things going.
As production picks up, I will be posting about my trials and tribulations. I’ll also try to keep this page updated with my progress.
Update June 10, 2011
Yesterday and today I finally harvested the worm bin and prepared a new one. Unfortunately I have no photos to show at this point, but will try to get some soon. Next time I harvest, I will make sure to take pictures.
The process is long and tiresome. If you read the book referenced above you will be told such, but you don’t realize just how much work it is until you do it yourself the first time. One thing is for certain, though: I will not ever do it on the ground again. Oiy that was hard on the legs!
Once I got the unprocessed bedding out of the way and started working with the castings and compost, I noticed quickly that there were thousands (I presume, from visual estimate) of eggs present throughout. As I don’t want to lose all of these precious worms-to-be, I will take care to re-harvest in about a week. I may wait a few days longer to allow the worm babies to grow somewhat, as infant worms are very small and nearly transparent (they appear white against the dark castings).
I purchased a new bin to use, larger than the first one, since I found the smaller, shallower 10-litre bin was just too small to work with after a period of time. The new bin is 60 litres and should work swimmingly, so long as I don’t leave it so long to harvest next time. The small bin was quite heavy with all the moist, processed material accumulated in the bottom half (and all the worms).
The worms I was able to hand-pick and sort came to about 390 grams – that’s more than half a pound. There was some processed material and castings in that as well, so the actual worms may come to about 300 grams. Still, that’s pretty good, I think. Unprocessed food material was not deemed significant enough to weigh. Old bedding and unprocessed food have been returned to the smaller bin with some worms not included in the worm weight.
So anyway, I am excited to start this new bin and see how well it works. Again, I will try to keep things posted on this site and/or page. Enjoy.