Introduction: Vermicomposting the Easy Way for the Urban Farmer
We love to grow indoor plants. The most adventurous ones even grow their own vegetables and greens in containers in whatever small space available in their home. The plants need food, so many of them buy plant food like Vermicompost from the market. Most of us are not aware that the waste produced from our kitchen can be converted into compost with the help of composting worms easily at our home.
Red wiggler worms, known by their scientific name as 'Eisenia fetida', are commonly used to convert any organic waste into useful compost called as Vermicompost.
This is the first time I have used the Red wiggler worms to make vermicompost and like to share my experience with you all. Any suggestions for improvement are most welcome.
Step 1: What Hardware We Need...
What hardware we need...? Simply two plastic buckets. Any old buckets will do, such that one sits inside other leaving a little gap at the bottom for collecting the seeping liquid known as Vermiwash.
Step 2: Prepare the Bucket
The main bucket should have drainage holes at the bottom for the excess liquid to drain out. Holes at the sides of the bucket will help in air circulation.
Here I have used a Dremel tool to make holes. You can use any sharp object like a nail or a thin piece of heated metal rod to make the holes.
Step 3: Add Raw Material
I have ordered the earth worms from an online site and am well aware that it may take another ten days for the worms to arrive. Immediately I started preparing the worm bucket so that the raw materials are partially composted before adding worms to them.
- Made a bedding layer with old news paper at the bottom of the main bucket.
- Added kitchen waste on top of the bedding layer.
- Dry leaves collected from the garden are added over the kitchen waste.
- Finally collected soil mixed with composted leaves and added this as a final layer.
- Overturning, mixing all together and sprinkling with some water at few days interval produced the partially composted material, which you can see in the last picture.
Step 4: Add Worms
Finally my worms arrived packed in worm food (Nothing but vermicompost with some raw material for the worms to feed on). I have added the worms on top of the partially composted waste material in the bucket.
The bucket is covered with a thick cardboard and a stone on top to prevent the cardboard to be blown away by wind. The cardboard will prevent any light passing into the bucket. You can also use a plastic lid to cover the bucket.
The covered bucket with worms has been placed in a shaded area so that no sunlight falls on it.
Step 5: Periodical Maintenance
Periodical inspection and maintenance of the worm bin helps in keeping the worms healthy and speedy conversion of the wastes into compost.
Put your fingers inside the material and feel the temperature. If it feels hot inside then turnover the material without harming the worms.
Lift out the worm bucket from the bottom one. You may find some liquid collected in the bottom bucket. Some worms might have also seeped through the bottom holes into the liquid. If you find any worms at the bottom, collect and return it to the compost bin. The liquid known as vermiwash can be diluted and used as liquid manure for plants.
Sprinkle water over the material, close with the lid and keep in the shaded area.
Step 6: Harvest the Vermicompost
It is time to harvest the vermicompost when there are no scraps or raw kitchen waste visible in the bucket.
- Here, I have emptied the vermicompost into a tray
- Taking small amounts in an another tray, separated the worms from the compost.
- Stored the composted material separately in a container and returned back the worms to the bucket.
Now we will repeat the process again from start with the worms. The collected vermicompost will be used to feed our plants.
Step 7: Add Vermicompost to Plants
Add small quantities of vermicompost to your potted plants and watch how they grow.
I am experimenting with worm composting. Kindly post your suggestions and ideas for improvement please