Vermicomposting is composting with worms. Why am I interested in worms? There are a few motivations:
About a third of our household waste is food scraps, peelings or wasted food. This most likely ends up in landfill. In the landfill it will breakdown anaerobically to a black nasty gunk creating methane in the process. This also means we are constantly taking out nutrients from the world and burying them where they are no good to anybody – not very sustainable. How much landfill can we realistically with anyway?.
Vermicompost is also the best compost you can have for growing anything. It releases nutrients at a much more natural rate compared to other fertilisers and people who use vermicompost refer to it as black gold reporting far superior results than using other composts and fertilisers. If produced correctly it also has the perfect nitrogen to carbon ratio for plants to grow.
Finally one more motivation is to have a circular environmental economy so to speak on the small holding. This means that we grow food to eat and left over food and plant material is composted along with waste cardboard, paper and certain other things. The compost is then used to grow more food etc. Ultimately I’d like to grow mushrooms as well and these produce a lot of CO2 which needs to be removed from the mushroom fruiting room. If you pump this into the greenhouse the plants there will thrive also. The by product of growing the mushrooms – the substrate – is known to be excellent for the worms so everything gets used and nothing is wasted.
One of the issues for raising worms where we are, is the cold weather and they will become fairly inactive during the colder months. So I have decided to build the first wormery in the bath we took out of the cottage during the renovations and house it in the old hay barn. However I will build in a heating cable and insulate around the bath. This will be thermostatically controlled and I will monitor the temperatures remotely. If you haven’t guessed yet, I’m an engineer who needs a new project quite often! (Lets just say there are a few that didn’t get finished and leave it at that :-)). As I intend to be able to monitor temperature and hopefully in the future pH and moisture remotely and set alarm limits etc – I’m calling this project ‘the Internet of Worms!’.