Worm composting is the process of harvesting high-quality fertilizing compost, also known as vermicompost, or worm compost. The recent popularity of this farming method can be directly correlated with the unmatched benefits that it provides to the soil and the crop in farming and gardening. Besides, being eco-friendly, it also promotes the healthy technique of organic farming and is absolutely chemical-free.
While the whole process is quite a time taking, but it is natural and carries the least efforts in terms of equipment and maintenance. The benefits that it delivers to your organic edible garden are next to none, and farmers & gardeners call it the Black Gold is not just a mere coincidence, but the result of in-depth research, and its proven merits in farming.
But then, there are certain misconceptions as well surrounding the practice of worm composting with a few of which being that it can affect the in-house odor quality, among the various others. However, this certainly nowhere comes into play if the whole process is done the right way. So before proceeding to the steps, let us take a brief look at what worm composting is, its properties, and the list of tools and equipment needed for preparing your organic worm compost at home in a contented fashion.
Worm Composting – The process of Producing Vermicompost
Worm composting is, in its simplest forms, the process or activity of producing vermicompost, which in turn is obtained by recycling and decomposing certain waste material that includes kitchen & organic waste with the help of worms. Vermicompost is the end-product so obtained after a minimum of 2 to 4 months of initiating the process.
Worm composting is a natural process that involves microbial activity to harvest the end product, in an eco-friendly and organic manner.
Vermi Composting Creates Poor Fragrance Around – The MYTH
Contrary to the popular over-spread myth, worm composts do not carry any distinctive odor that can be characterized as bad smelling or with poor fragrance quality. However, this may be the case if the process is not done with proper care and caution, which are already minimalistic in nature and in terms of demands. Good quality vermicompost is usually odorless and often smells earthy. The same goes for the harvesting period as well.
Things You Need To Build Your Organic Worm Compost
Almost all of the necessary requirements of building an organic worm compost is already available within and around the house. It’s quite cost-effective with minimal tool requirements and needs only a few things to be purchased. The list includes –
1. Container for your worm compost –
Choosing the size of your compost container depends on a few factors that include the location of the compost pit or bin, as per preference, the desired amount of vermicompost required for your gardening needs, and the overall preference of building a worm compost pit or purchasing a container.
The few things that you need to understand for making the right choice of preference for your compost container is that it needs to be at least 12 inches deep and should have proper outlets to let the excess water flow, source of oxygen, and airflow which is helpful for the worms to digest and decompose the waste.
In case preferring a concrete or wooden pit, cover the inner surface area with non-decomposing fabric such as plastic. A good 3 to 10-gallon volume container can work for all your garden needs. In case if you are planning for a concrete or wooden pit add a non-decomposable fabric such as plastic to protect the wall from wear and tear. Black and dark colored is more preferred used for covering the compost pit or container from the top.
2. Common Soil –
Worms need a friendly environment to live and survive and for this reason, the soil is needed for the compost. Apart from this, the soil that is influenced by earthworms digestion attains rich microbial content that further increases the fertilizing capability of the worm compost.
3. Recyclable House Waste
These particulars can cover a wide range of kitchen and food waste that includes several cooked and uncooked food items such as fresh vegetable peel, and refrigerator remains. This list can also involve other biodegradable substances such as paper wastes, dead leaf beddings under trees and lawn areas, etc.
The kitchen waste can also include coffee and tea leftovers as well. However, avoid smelling vegetables such as broccoli, onions to keep the excessive foul smell away and substances such as edible oil, butter, cheese should also be avoided to keep it free from pests and grease-free as the presence of such oily substances can harm the overall quality of the vermicompost.
The list of not to add food items also considers certain pH influencing fruits and vegetable remains such as orange peels and lemons among various others.
4. The Most Important Element – Suitable Earthworm Species for Your Worm Compost
Composting worms are earthworms and these are needed in a certain amount that should be sufficient for them to adapt to the system, reproduce and further multiply to exhibit a healthy natural environment that in turn would produce high quality fertilizing vermicompost.
Read more: How to Make Your Own Potting Soil?
Broadcast a layer of common soil over your worm container or pit that you choose as your compost. Considering a minimum of 12 inches depth, keep it at a level of around 1 to 1.5 inches from the bottom.
Add a fine layer of Farm Yield Manure or Compost Promoter to up to 2 inches of height at maximum.
Add the recyclable waste, which is a mix of kitchen waste and other biodegradable substances as specified above of up to 2 to 3 inches in height.
Broadcast worms evenly over the container or the compost pit.
Cover the container pit with a dark lid or any other covering to prevent sunlight from entering.
A Few Things To Look Out For
1. Moisture/Humidity Control
The compost needs to be added with a regular water spray in small amounts or as per the moisture and humidity content within the compost to provide a natural, humid ecosystem that promotes microbial growth.
The temperature should be maintained within the range of 50 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit to avoid any harm to the existing living ecological system.
Earthworms need a proper amount of oxygen to appropriately decompose the recyclables. Lack of oxygen can result in the generation of foul odor and in turn, degrades the overall quality of the worm compost.
- Read more: How to Prepare Garden Soil for Planting?
Harvesting Period and Extraction of the Fertilizing Compost
The harvesting period of worm composting lasts for up to 2 to 4 months depending on the quantity and proportion of the materials added in the compost. If the worm quantity is low, the period may extend the upper limit to a couple of weeks up to a month more.
Fine quality vermicompost is usually dark in color, odorless, with a smell that’s similar to earth or soil odor. The content is semi-moist, not completely dried, which is another factor that determines the good quality of the worm compost so harvested.
The compost pit at the end of the harvesting period would consist of worms, vermicompost, and a few leftovers and remains that could not be decomposed. The worms and the material not decomposed can be extracted from the useful vermicompost by normal filtration.
How to Store the Vermicompost
While this does not involve any rocket science, here are a few things that you should take care of for storing vermicompost and maintain its quality.
1. Maintain Moisture content and avoid the compost from getting completely dried.
2. Direct sunlight should be avoided at times of storage.
Vermicompost are a boon to the farmers and gardening enthusiasts and work exceptionally well in delivering the most high-end benefits and advantages in terms of organic fertilizing, eco-friendly, and soil-enriching qualities with similar set of benefits to the crops being harvested within and is one of the best ways of fertilizing your organic edible garden for the best veggies and fruits and must be sought to be added in your list of gardening accessories to enrich your garden, soil, and crop quality organically in the long run.