Vermiculture 101

worm bed irrigation cropped

 
If you’re not a worm person, you might not have even heard the word “vermiculture” before. I certainly hadn’t 12 months ago. Vermiculture is just a more scientific term for worm farming. The practice of vermiculture, rather than worm farming, usually means it is being carried out on a more commercial scale, rather than your do-it-at-home worm farm. But essentially, the theory is the same.

 
Vermiculture trio

 
Here’s a few facts and busted myths I’ve learnt along the vermiculture journey;

  1. Worm castings are worm poo.  The worm has amazing properties inside its gut, which makes its “poo” (castings) full of microbes and beneficial plant nutrients. Castings are like gold in terms of food for your plants. You only need a little bit to make a big impact. And don’t worry, castings don’t have any smell.
  1. Worm juice, (otherwise know as vermiliquor) is not worm wee. Worm beds are naturally quite damp environments. They require regular watering to keep the worms happy. The organic waste used to feed the worms also contains a lot of moisture. So, all of this makes liquid a prolific bi-product of the vermiculture system. The liquid naturally drains through the pits, and is collected at the bottom. We re-circulate this liquid back through the beds, to ensure a high microbial count.
  1. A healthy worm farm does not smell. The worms do a wonderful job of consuming all organic waste, leading to an odourless environment, providing it is managed correctly. If your worm farm at home smells, there is something wrong. Perhaps the food is too acidic, or perhaps you are overfeeding. Not sure? Come and attend one of Circular Food’s free Saturday info sessions. Contact us for more info.
  1. Worms won’t leave a happy home. We don’t contain our worms with anything more than a felt blanket over the beds, and this is for warmth not containment. Keep your worms happy by feeding them regularly, keeping them aerated, and adequately watered and they will never leave your side. They’re loyal workers.
  1. Worms will eat anything that was once living. Yes, that includes some traditional “no-no foods” like meat and citrus. In moderation, worms will eat these things too. However, its important to make sure protein levels and ph levels are kept at an optimum level. So without the facilities to test this at home, its safest to avoid these foods in your own worm farm.

wormsAnd finally, and the most important lesson of all; Worms are one of natures most valuable creations. They are industrious and largely undervalued little creatures, with imperative value for life on earth. Left to its own devices, our planet can figure out any naturally occuring issue. Its solution for organic waste is the earthworm. If we can help them do their job, they can help us reduce our landfills and regenerate our global soil health.

 
If you have a specific question about vermiculture, please don’t hesitate to contact us.
 
 

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