Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Word Wednesday: Vermiculture

According to Dictionary.com, this word means:
–noun; the raising and production of earthworms and their by-products.

When my article Sowing the Seeds was featured on Carnival of Homesteading, I read another featured article by Lisa Winter at DIY Winter Dreams that explained how to begin your own worm composting bin. You can read the article HERE.

We were inspired by this article, and harvested 100 red worms and earth worms recently from our garden. We placed them in the above plastic container for short term keeping until we made their bed in a coffee can. Mr. Nature remembered that his grandfather used to keep and grow worms in a coffee can, so there was a certain nostalgia in this choice. DIY Winter Dreams does not recommend a coffee can, but that doesn't mean we can't improvise!



Lisa did say to make holes in the BOTTOM of your container so the worms don't get waterlogged. She explained how to use the resulting moisture as a nutrient rich tea to water plants. We used a coffee filter to cover the holes so the worms could not crawl out the bottom. I prefer unbleached coffee filters, but I had some old white ones that needed some use.

When we began the bin, I used shredded paper as the bedding. Lisa says you could use peat moss, shredded paper/newspaper, or even shredded cardboard. We have since removed the shredded paper and used peat moss instead. The worms did not seem to do well with the paper, and if you have read my prior posts, you will know that I am unsure about the chemicals from the ink getting into my compost. Also, I'm sure the ink can't be good for the worms.

We placed kitchen scraps and then some dirt over the top, and then placed the lid.

The difficulty in using a coffee can will be ease of separating the castings from all the rest of the contents, but we will utilize Lisa's method of dumping the whole thing onto a (something to be determined) and then separate by hand. We have never tried keeping worms before, so there is going to be a learning curve!

A few other places to visit to learn about vermiculture are:
http://gardenworms.com/
http://www.vermiculture.com/
http://www.communitycrops.org/education/vermiculture
http://www.wormdigest.org/content/view/135/2/
http://www.wormpoop.com/

Happy castings!

5 comments:

SLColman said...

What a cool adventure!! I will have to try this when the gardening season starts... I bet DH can use them for fishing too :)

ClayItAgain / 12MidnightOils said...

Thanks for all the info...this is something I have wanted to start doing as well. Hopefully, I can begin soon.

Splendid Little Stars said...

That's cool. I've thought about keeping worms. So how much dirt did you put in the can? Did you fill it up? I might try a little area outside this summer.
I'm going to pass this on to some people I know who would be interested.
Thanks!

Sinclair said...

@Splendid: We followed Lisa's advice and put bedding about 1/3 deep, then worms/dirt/kitchen scraps. The whole thing makes the can about 1/2 full. We didn't put a lot of dirt, but just as much as we thought would be enough to cover them.

Hocking Hills Gardener said...

Fascinating, I will be watching to see the out come of your experiment with the worms.