The Wonders of Worm Poop
If you’re an avid backyard gardener, chances are you’ve encountered a few creepy-crawly creatures while tending your crop, but did you know you can farm these guys too?
That’s right, worms can be farmed for use in fertilizing through a process called vermicomposting.
Vermicomposting, also called vermiculture or worm farming, is a composting process using worms to break down food waste creating nutrient-rich castings, a fancy term for worm poo, that can then be used as fertilizer in your garden.
Not Your Average Earthworm
Before you go digging up those big, slimy guys in your backyard, think twice. Vermicomposting can’t be done with just any earthworm; it takes some special guys to do the job.
Worm farmers in North America typically use two types of worm species: Red Wigglers (Eisenia fetida) and Red Worms (Lumbricus rubellus). What makes these guys so special?
Unlike your backyard earthworm, Red Wigglers and Red Worms prefer to stay just below the surface and can withstand a wide range of temperatures. These guys also have quite the appetite, eating up to three times their weight while remaining small in size. These characteristics coupled with their fast reproduction rates make them ideal for life on a worm farm.
Creating the Right Ambiance
While vermicomposting worms are hearty little creatures, they need the right environment to thrive.
You’ll need to start with a bin to keep your worms - and their poo - contained. Composting worms are happiest in room-temperature, dark, moist spaces. While you can make your own bin by simply using a well-ventilated cardboard box and newspaper, open bins can attract other vermin, can emit odor, and can get messy when casting harvest comes around. That’s why we recommend using a bin specifically designed for vermicomposting.
How It Works
Vermicompost bins like the Kitchen Waste Bin for sale on our site use a contained tray system that separates the active site from the castings and moisture, keeping your worms safe, secure, and mess-free.
The trays are stacks one on top of the other and fit securely with lid, keeping things odor-free. The top tray is where you will deposit your food scraps for the worm feast. The middle trays are where the castings collect, and the bottom tray, equipped with a spigot, is where nutrient-rich liquid, also called worm tea, collects.
The worms travel between the top three trays through slits on the bottom of each tray. These slits also come in handy when harvesting the castings and re-bedding the trays. The worms are naturally attracted to the top tray containing food scraps. Using the slits, you can sift the tray to separate castings from scraps and stray worms...mess free!
Besides the rich fertilizer the worms provide, when worm composting you can rest easy knowing you are also helping the environment. How so?
A third of all the food eaten globally ends up as waste. That’s about 1.3 billion tons globally! America alone spends an estimated 165 billion dollars managing that food waste, not to mention the carbon emissions from transporting waste to and from landfills.
By putting those wigglers to work, you are making our food cycle more efficient, our air a little cleaner, and your garden a little greener.
Get your own vermicompost system started with our Kitchen Waste Bin, or check out Solar Us Shop’s selection of gardening supplies today! Follow us on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter for more gardening and solar tips.