The previous article listed the materials and equipment needed for vermicomposting. These include bins, kitchen and garden waste, worms, and so on to help with the decomposition.
Once all these things are available, the next step would be to start vermicomposting. Here’s how to go about it:
- Begin making the worm bins. Drill about 20 holes into the bottom of one bin and around 10 to 15 holes on its lid. Leave the other bin undrilled. Place a flowerpot or brick at the bottom of the undrilled bin to create space underneath for drainage, then place the drilled bin on top of it. The drilled bin is where the other compostable materials will be mixed together, layer by layer. Once the decomposition has begun, any liquid formed from the compost pile will ooze out of the holes drilled in the bin.
- Prepare the bedding. Bedding balances out the mixture inside the compost bin and serves as an area where worms can take a break from eating the kitchen scraps. Lay out a layer of torn newspaper scraps and dried leaves at the bottom of the drilled bin, then wet them down with water. The bedding’s consistency should be moist and fluffy, somewhat like a sponge.
- Add the worm food. Spread the worm food, or kitchen and garden scraps, on the first layer of bedding on found at the bottom bin. Avoid animal products like meat, bones, and dairy as then tend to be an oily waste. The worm food should be a balanced mix of waste that includes leaves, fruit and vegetable scraps, citrus peels, and coffee grounds. Make sure to cover the layer of worm food with several layers of bedding before adding more worm food in order to avoid unpleasant odors from forming during the decomposition process.
- Put in the worms. Now that the bins are ready and filled, add the worms so they can adjust to their new home. Worms are attracted to dark areas so they will most likely dig under the first few layers of bedding to find their food.
- Secure the area. To keep the worms from having any unwanted guests, add a few layers of wet newspaper placed flat on top of the bedding to deter fruit flies from joining the mix. For good measure, roll up a few sheets of newspaper and tuck them into the sides and corners of the bin to secure it from other invaders and to keep the worms inside.
- Make compost. Don’t expect the worms to make compost straight off the bat. Wait for some time for them to produce the material. After a few weeks have passed, compost can already be collected from the bin. The compost should feel like a wrung-out sponge–moist but not dripping, and should have no foul odor to signal that there’s just the right amount of natural waste and kitchen scraps in the bin.
- Use the compost sparingly. Aside from the worms and the bedding, a mixture of worm castings, humus, and decomposing matter can be found inside the bin. This is called vermicompost which is nutrient-rich and equipped with microorganisms that can make a garden or farm thrive.
Compost and vermicompost is similar in terms of the benefits that it gives to the soil. The only difference is the process in making its finished product. Composting relies mostly on the air and oxidation, while vermicomposting lets the worms do the job in converting natural waste into useful material.
Aside from being a beneficial and environmentally-friendly way of getting rid of kitchen and garden waste, vermicomposting is also practical because it keeps farmers or gardeners from spending too much on fertilizer for their land.