Traditionally, worms have been raised for fishing bait and a protein and enzyme source for various products, including animal food and biodegradable cleansers. Worms are also used to control agricultural wastes such as dairy manure. They convert waste into worm manure (also known as worm castings), a nutrient-rich, biologically beneficial soil product.
Vermicomposting is the use of worms as a composting solution to produce vermicompost. Vermiculture is worm farming for the production of worms. Lately, worm farming has been practiced on both a little and large scale with three complementary goals in mind: waste diversion, vermicomposting, and vermiculture.
What is vermicompost?
Vermicompost, or castings, is worm manure. Worm castings are considered by many in horticulture to be one of the better soil amendments available. The nutrient content of castings is depends on the material fed to the worms–and worms commonly prey on highly nutritious materialss, such as food waste and manures.
Worm castings provide a variety nutrients helpful to promote plant growth and in a form readily available for plant uptake. The biology of the worm’s gut facilitates the growth of fungus and bacteria that are beneficial to plant growth. On top of that, many chemical compounds are within castings that are believed to promote plant growth.
Much of the content of worm castings and their effects on plants remain being studied. Nonetheless, farmers and soils blenders know the benefits associated with worm castings off their actual influence on plants and revenue, even when the worms are fed low-nutrient materials such as paper fiber. Visit this website to get more insight Worm Composter
What kinds of worms are being used for vermicomposting?
Most worm farms raise two main types of earthworm: Eisenia foetida and Lumbricus rubellis. These worms are commonly used to create vermicompost, as well as for fish bait. Both are referred to by a variety of common names, including red worms, red wigglers, tiger worms, brandling worms, and manure worms. Both of these species in many cases are increased together and are difficult to tell apart, though they are not believed to interbreed. While several other kinds have been successfully bred lately, this fact sheet focuses primarily on the utilization of such species.
The night crawler (Lumbricus terrestrius) is also harvested and sold for fishing bait. This species does not breed well in captivity and is also generally harvested from wild stock.
What do worms need?
Worms can survive a wide variety of temperatures, but they thrive best at temperatures between 55 and 77 degrees Fahrenheit (13-25 degrees Celsius). They need a moist, organic and natural substrate or “bedding” where to reside. They will eat the bedding and convert it into castings and also other feed. Moisture and oxygen are vital and bedding should be about as damp as a wrung-out sponge. A worm’s skin is photosensitive and for that reason they desire a dark environment.
Because worms have no teeth, they want some form of grit in their bedding that they can swallow and use within their gizzard to grind food, much like birds do with small stones. Just a little soil or sand works, but it should be sterile so that no foreign organisms are introduced. Common additives used include rock dust or oyster flour (ground up oyster shells).
Since oyster flour is actually calcium carbonate, adding too much will raise the pH in the worms’ environment. Worms prefer a slightly acidic pH degree of about 6.5. For a typical worm bin, no more than a tablespoon of grit is needed, which should not significantly alter the pH.