Vermiculture and the Summer of 2022
Worms! ewww- yuck- cringe- but I say Hooray for worms. Vermiculture is the cultivation of worms (annelid or segmented worms specifically) especially for use as bait or in composting.
We have a worm bin and I am a big fan. We feed our worms shredded newspaper, coffee grinds, watermelon(their favorite!) and veggie scraps. Find instructions for what to feed your worms here- https://www.allthingsorganic.com/feeding-your-worms.
The worms eat this matter and their excrement (castings) increases soil fertility because it contains nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium , and magnesium. Earthworm castings also contain microorganisms which increase in abundance as organic matter is digested in their intestines. This cycling of nutrients from organic matter and the increase in microorganisms facilitates plant growth.
As I put it …. Worm castings are the best fertilizer you can give your plants. By the way, this “fertilizer” will never burn any plant or roots or leaves. We also periodically will fill a fine mesh bag with worm castings and put it into our 55 gallon rain bucket with a cup of black strap molasses and bubble it with an aerator for 2 to 3 days and make worm tea and water the gardens.
The sugar in the molasses feeds the microorganisms so that they increase exponentially. We try diligently to keep the processes and additives organic on our homestead.
Our worm bin is kept in the shade, worms don't like it hot and, in fact, too hot will kill them. In the winter the bin is kept indoors (too cold will kill them too!). Managed properly there is no smell and it is yet another way to handle organic kitchen waste and to recycle newspapers and untreated cardboard. Good for us and good for reducing the landfill!
I purchased my worm bin years ago from:
Gardeners Supply and it has held up beautifully now in its 7th year. It is a stop on the tour of the property and a favorite of all the kids.
You can make your own version DIY of a worm bin
Worms have no eyes, no ears, and 5 hearts
Worms breathe through their skin
There are about 3 million worms per acre of grassland
Worms create tunnels in the soil which helps with aeration and plant root growth
Earthworms are both male and female but despite that they still mate
The longest most worms can grow is 10”
Although they usually live 1 to 2 years they may live up to eight years!
So the next time you see a worm in your garden,
it is a good sign!