Thursday, May 10, 2012

Root Naturally - Worm Farming??

This past winter I moved from my small hobby farm in OH, complete with beef cows, dairy goats and … fertilizer. Fertilizer? Yes, you know to spread in the garden and grounds for natural composting. 

Unfortunately my smaller hobby farm in KY does not have these larger animals yet, thus no fertilizer. It was a perfect opportunity for me to try out worm composting, or vermicomposting. Vermicomposting it utilizing worms to break down kitchen scraps and waste into nutritious dirt for adding vitamins to the soil. Natural composting like in forests and fields but on a smaller scale right in your own bin. 

Root Naturally graciously sent me a Worm Factory 360 to begin my own vermicomposter. 

And this is what they answer about Why Worms?

Advantages of Vermicomposting
  • Composting worms will consume around ½ of their body weight per day. This means you can have worms that will actually eat all the organic waste your household produces, while only using up a couple square feet of space.
  • Worms will naturally reproduce over time to fit whatever size the conditions of their "home" allows. This allows you to control their population by the size of their "home".
  • With worm composting you will lessen your burden on overfilled landfills by recycling your organic waste instead of throwing it in the trash can.
  • The end product from worm compost, commonly known as "castings" or simply worm poop, is quickly becoming known as one of the best options for adding fertility to your soil in a safe organic way.
Advantages of Earthworm Castings
  • Earthworm Castings re-introduce beneficial bacteria and microbes into your soil that are crucial for having healthy living soil. This will help fight disease and promote excellent growing conditions.
  • Nutrients are made available to the plant in a form that is more easily absorbed by the plant than other types of fertilizer. This is due to the special digestion system of the worm that grinds the nutrients down for easy absorption by the plants.
  • Nutrients from castings will not be lost by water "run off" unlike synthetic fertilizers. This is because the castings physically become a part of the soil and stay in place for the plants to feed from.
  • Improves water retention in soils.
  • Earthworm Castings are non-toxic at any concentration. No need to worry about over feeding and killing plants.
Spring is the perfect time of year to get started on this project. We made it a family project setting up our Worm Factory when my parents were visiting allowing them to join in on the fun! Root Naturally sends everything you need to get started. I set the young ones and Grandma to work shredding more paper for future uses.

 This core of mulch is soaked to grow and mix in with some of the shredded paper and sand to make a perfect home for the worms. 

I got in there and mixed my core, dirt, paper, and some sand all together for the base of the vermicomposter.

 In one corner we put food scraps, utilizing coffee grounds, veggie and fruit peels. You want to avoid dairy and meat products in your composter. Your worms are vegetarians!

The right mix of moisture and shade is going to be important for the worms to do their job. Keep them shaded and out of major rain. 
A layer of newspaper covers the working layer and is moistened to help keep the worms cool. I did not moisten it yet, awaiting the worms. Thought it was funny that Affordable Luxury was on the top for the worms to view their new home when they get here!!  It doesn't take much to be humorous around here!  Side view of awaiting home.

 The drain helps to regulate the water content of your vermicomposter, allowing to drain when it gets too wet.

 Home sweet home

My Worm Factory is ready and awaits my red wigglers to come to their new home. We had some trouble with the postal system delivering my last batch from Root Naturally, somehow the worms wanted to travel around the US, refusing to come to KY. Hoping this next batch of worms isn’t so fussy 
Root Naturally has been a fantastic company to work with, and their products represent their desire to preserve the earth and soil. Check out their website and consider beginning your own Worm Factory. Not only will it benefit the soil, it is a great tool for teaching the kids about worms, composting, recycling, farming and soil. Worms are some of the easiest pets to keep! Well if they don’t make a detour to a foreign land en-route.

Stay tuned for more photo's as my worm friends arrive, and we photo their progress in this new adventure of vermicomposting!

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  1. Would love one of these. The big excitement here this spring,once everything thawed out, was checking our compost box for worms!

  2. This is on my to-do list. I can't wait to give mine a try!

  3. You're going to have so much fun with it! Has been very low maintenance for us thus far. :)

  4. Wow! Very neat. We've been composting since we moved her 12 years ago. It sure helped when I started the raised beds this year.

  5. I am dying to know how this goes!I really want to try this out myself..

  6. Would love to give this a try. I'm always moving big worms and small garden snakes to the flower garden!