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PROCESS AND METHODS OF VERMICULTURE

PROCESS AND METHODS OF VERMICULTURE

Discuss PROCESS AND METHODS OF VERMICULTURE within the Environment Management forums, part of the Resolve Your Query - Get Help and discuss Projects category; To start your vermicomposting system, First select a location for your worm bin. The best spots are the kitchen, pantry, ...

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PROCESS AND METHODS OF VERMICULTURE
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Abhijeet S
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PROCESS AND METHODS OF VERMICULTURE - September 15th, 2010

To start your vermicomposting system,


First select a location for your worm bin. The best spots are the kitchen, pantry, bathroom, mudroom, laundry room, or basement. If you want to keep your worm bin outside, put it in the shade during the hot summer and shelter it from the cold in winter by placing it in a garage or carport, or putting hay bales around the bin to allow air to circulate around the bin, and keep it protected from flooding, because the worms can drown.



Next, prepare the bedding. If you want to use newspapers, fold a section in half and tear off long, half-inch to inch wide strips (go with the grain of the paper and it will tear neatly and easily).


Soak the newspaper in water for a few minutes, then wring it out like a sponge and fluff it up as you add the newspaper to your worm bin. Aim for the bedding to be very damp, but not soaking wet (only two to three drops of water should come out when you squeeze the bedding material). Spread the bedding evenly until it fills about three-quarters of the bin.


Sprinkle a couple of handfuls of soil (from outdoors or potting soil) into the bedding to introduce beneficial microorganisms and aid the worms' digestive process. Fluff up the bedding about once a week so the worms can get plenty of air and freedom of movement.


Gently place your worms on top of the bedding. Leave the bin lid off for a while so the worms will burrow into the bedding, away from the light. The worms will not try to crawl out of the bin if there is light overhead.
Once the worms have settled into their new home, add food scraps that you have been collecting in a leak-proof container.


Dig a hole in the bedding (or pull the bedding aside), place the food scraps in the hole, and cover it with at least an inch of bedding. After this first feeding, wait a week before adding more food. Leave your worms alone during this time to allow them to get used to their new surroundings. Bury food scraps in a different area of the bin each time.


Worms may be fed any time of the day. Do not worry if you must leave for a few days, as the worms can be fed as seldom as once a week. Note: Do not be surprised to see other creatures in your worm bin, as they help break down the organic material. Most of the organisms will be too small to see, but you may spot white worms, springtails, pill bugs, molds, and mites.


Harvesting the Worms and Compost

After about six weeks, you will begin to see worm castings (soil-like material that has moved through the worms' digestive tracts). The castings can be used to boost plant growth. In three or four months, it will be time to harvest the castings. Mixed in with the castings will be partially decomposed bedding and food scraps, in addition to worms; this is called vermicompost. You may harvest the vermicompost by one of two methods:


• Method 1: Place food scraps on only one side of your worm bin for several weeks, and most of the worms will migrate to that side of the bin. Then you can remove the vermicompost from the other side of the bin where you have not been adding food scraps, and add fresh bedding. Repeat this process on the other side of the bin. After both sides are harvested, you can begin adding food scraps to both sides of the bin again.


• Method 2: Empty the contents of your worm bin onto a plastic sheet or used shower curtain where there is strong sunlight or artificial light. Wait 20-30 minutes, and then scrape off the top layer of vermicompost. The worms will keep moving away from the light, so you can scrape more compost off every 20 minutes or so. After several scrapings, you will find worms in clusters; just pick up the worms and gently return them to the bin in fresh bedding.
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