What is Vermicompost?
Vermicompost is just using Earthworm to breakdown (eat) all the organic material that we feed them with. Vermicastings (Earthworm pooh!) is the result of that! Here is a much nicer definition of the two words from WikiPedia.
Vermicompost (or vermi-compost) is the product of the composting process using various species of worms, usually red wigglers, white worms, and other earthworms, to create a mixture of decomposing vegetable or food waste, bedding materials, and vermicast.
Vermicast (also called worm castings, worm humus, worm manure, or worm feces) is the end-product of the breakdown of organic matter by earthworms. These castings have been shown to contain reduced levels of contaminants and a higher saturation of nutrients than the organic materials before Vermicomposting. – WikiPedia
At Tantai Farm, we tried a few methods to get the worm to live and eat happily at the farm and for us to easily maintaining them too!
Soak the dried Cow manure in water for about 2-3 days to remove the acidity that is left. Once all the water drained you can place the worm on the manure and let them boring down by them self. If they didn’t, it meant the manure had problem. I usually fix from the get-go, by soaking in the water with EM or Effective Microbes. EM is quite a good fix-all magic!
Be sure to cover the basin with light-proof material. They don’t like light and it will keep the moisture in the basin.
Earthworm can go down as deep as 2 meters, but will always pooh at top layer. Therefore, the surface is where your Vermicasting will be. You can scoop up about 5 cm every week or so, depends on how many worms are in the basin.
Your plants will really enjoy this!
But after a couple round of this big and heavy basin, I switch over to smaller size basin. They are much easier to work with, and stack-able.
Need a hole on the bottom of the basin, to drain out any excess water. You can collect these, but I eventually found it to be too troublesome.
I did used a mesh net on it. It didn’t work too good. Yes, it keep out insects, but the manure dry too quick. The rain didn’t help.
Switched over to crappy plastic bad….too much heat build up.
The only solution was to build a house for my worms.…
The Earthworm house is nice and cool, keep out the wind. I also build 4 shelves to stack all the basins. Each shelf is 3 wide and 5 tall. The top shelf was a bit too high and hard to work with, so I skip it.
Note the small water bowl at the foot of the shelf. It is there to keep out the ants. Ants won’t walk on water.
The cover can be anything flat, completely closed but not air tight. This will keep out the rats and other big insects that will come and eat your worms.
Some pictures of Earthworms. The first two images were from my farm, the last was the worms that I brought from an other farm.
The above two pictures are from a commercial farm where the Vermicasting are sifted to remove any impurity and let dry for bagging to sell.
One problem I see with this is that, it killed all the beneficial microbes that come with the Vermicasting. It also killed the future worms by drying up the eggs that may be in the casting.
I would not do this in a million years!
I eventually will have 60 basins full of Earthworms, but for 1.7Ha of farmland, this will not be enough. I also do regular composting with what ever organic materials on the farm or buy from outsource such as hay, Cow, Chicken, Pig manure, branches and leaves, tree trunk cutting after the banana is harvested, etc … Remember, there are no waste on a farm, ever!
Here I am with my Vermicasting for the small garden next to my Chicken coop!
How do you do your Earthworm farming? I would like to know. Leave me a link of your blog or a question on this subject.
Here is a good book to read more about Earthworm. It is an affiliate link!