The basics of worm farming require very little effort and produce great organic growing results for home gardens. High in nutrients, worm castings enhance soil with their high humus content, and retain water for the soil. Aside from these benefits, worm farming is fun.
Organics of Worm Farming
The mucus coating of worm castings provide nutrients to the soil on a slow, steady basis providing for constant feeding of plants. The enzyme in these castings is melt the exoskeletons of many insects, thereby providing a natural pesticide to gardens, which over time help to repel many garden pests. Garden and plant fungi and bacteria can also be guarded against through the use of worm castings due to castings having a powerful and live population of beneficial bacteria.
Worm Farm Reproductivity
Although some people are aware that earthworms fertilize and aerate the soil, this information goes largely ignored. Additionally, many people throw away food scraps cardboard and newspapers. A combination of these two factors can bring immense benefits to the soil without any added costs. Worms reproduce very rapidly. They will eat, in addition to what has already been mentioned, coffee grinds, vegetable peelings and skins, as well as leftovers that have gone moldy. A pound of compost will be digested and excreted by approximately 1800 worms in a 24 hour period.
Constructing Worm Farms
Step 1. Estimate the amount of recycled food scraps you accumulate for one week. Weigh it and choose a container that has 1 square foot for every pound of food scrap you discard. If you accumulate 7 pounds of scraps, then you need a 7 foot square box for your worm farm. Make sure your box is no deeper than 12 feet. Drill several holes for water drainage.
Step 2. Make your worm bed by dumping newspaper, compost and garden trimmings inside the box, and mixing it all together. Keep this bedding moist. Purchase worms from any fishing supply store that sells bait. You will want about 250 worms to start your farm, adding more as you increase compost or food scraps.
Step 3. Keep your eye on the worm farm for approximately 3 months. The original composting material will be replaced by the worm castings which will be a darker color and take up less space. Move the compost to the side and add new materials to the box. After approximately two weeks all the worms will make their new homes in the newer compost, and you can remove the worm castings and apply them where you like in your garden.
Using Worm Castings
Insure that there are no worms or eggs (eggs shaped like miniature lemon cocoons) in your casting mixture and add it to soil for freshly planted plants in the home or garden or spread and work it into the soil immediately around your favorite trees and shrubs. Your casting mixture may smell somewhat strong, but as long as it is not unpleasant, it should be fine. Mixing it with the soil will aerate and provide ventilation and the smell should soon disappear