If you’re a family farmer or just interested in gardening, you’ve probably run into a problem: how to get organic fertilizer for your plants?
To keep a garden, we need large amounts of organic fertilizer, which can be quite costly and laborious.
An excellent solution for this is worm farming. Worms are famous for softening the earth and turning organic matter into nutrient-packed fertilizers for plants, also known as worm castings.
Why Should You Have A Worm Farm?
As mentioned earlier, worm castings are an excellent fertilizer capable of improving the chemical, physical and biological attributes of the soil.
It contributes to strengthening your garden’s plants and is also an excellent process for recycling organic waste.
Worm farms can be made according to your personal needs.
If you are short on space, you can build a small worm farm inside your home, and the best of it – worms are odorless!
Or, if you have a lot of space and produce a lot of food scraps, you can build a bigger one.
Also, if you have kids in the house, they will have good fun feeding the worms!
Which Worms Should I Use?
There are thousands of different worm species in the world. Red Wigglers (Eisenia fetida) are one of the best types of worms for vermicomposting.
This worm is the favorite for casting production because it adapts easily to intensive rearing conditions and has a great casting production capacity.
Also, it reproduces quickly and is very resistant.
Red Wigglers consume the equivalent of their weight in organic matter per day and produce a cocoon every 2-3 days.
Another good worm for vermicomposting is the Redworms (Lumbricus rubellus), while for live bait, the European NightCrawlers are the best choice.
To start a worm farm, we recommend that you purchase 1 liter (about 1,500 worms) per square meter.
Best Location for Your Worm Farm
Interestingly, worms don’t have eyes or ears, so they have a terrible sense of direction.
In fact, they move influenced by light-sensitive cells in their skin.
Therefore, they avoid direct sunlight and seek refuge in shady and more humid environments.
You should keep this in mind when choosing the location for your worm farm.
If the temperature can be controlled, keep it between 72 – 75 degrees Fahrenheit, with 70% to 85% humidity.
Another important thing to keep in mind when choosing the location of your worm farm is to try to build it as close as possible to the raw material that will be used as substrate.
Ideally, you should build your worm farm in high places, without too much slope, which facilitates the construction of beds and drainage systems – if there is plenty of open space available.
Another key point is to check if there is clean and abundant water in the area, especially during drought.
You can find ready-made worm farms with a fully insulated system in garden stores or online or build your own.
Time to Build Your Worm Farm!
There are countless ways to build a worm farm, from the simplest to the most expensive ones. They can be made from:
- Wood boxes
- Plastic stacks
- 200l barrels, etc.
Worm farms are extremely versatile and adaptable to your needs. So, more than worrying about the format, there are other important points to consider when building your worm farm:
Important Things to Consider:
- Bedding should always be moist. Many prepackaged worm bins come complete with bedding and set up instructions.
- The bedding must be made with different sources of semi-cured raw material.
- Cover with banana leaves or weed scraps to keep moisture and protect against direct sunlight, in addition to making it difficult for worms to escape.
- Be aware of some natural enemies, such as chickens, leeches, birds, and foot wash ants.
Tip: Spread coffee grounds, bone meal, or ground eggshell over the bed to inhibit the appearance of ants, keep moisture and pH balanced, in addition to complementing the food for the worms.
- Control moisture – Take some of the material in your hand and squeeze it. If only a few drops of water appear between your fingers, you have the right humidity.
Feeding the Worms
One of the biggest challenges for those starting a worm farm is how to constantly get food for worms.
Worms need a balanced diet rich in nitrogen, fiber, and carbohydrates.
All the organic matter that you produce must go through pre-composting.
That’s why it’s crucial to keep a small bucket in your kitchen to gather your daily food scraps. You can take these food scraps every day or two to feed your worms.
Avoid excessive accumulation of very succulent vegetable debris, such as pumpkin, watermelon peel, or whole fruit, as they can attract flies, other insects, and even rats.
In addition to food scraps, you can use cattle, horse, and rabbit manure, crop waste, straw, leaves, household garbage, and sewage sludge.
The correct amount to feed the worms regularly is about one-half pound of food scraps per pound of worms per day.
Once this is set, you can relax and see your worms grow happily and live a long life, producing a steady supply of vermicompost for your garden.
Collecting the Castings
To know the right moment to collect the castings, you must observe some of its characteristic like it should be dark and uniform in color, with a pleasant odor of wet earth.
The texture should resemble coffee grounds and you will notice a reduction in the size of the worms which is a clear sign that there is no more food.
Using the Fertilizer
You can apply the worm castings directly under your plants or use them in liquid form.
Casting in liquid form is not only fertilizer, but it is also a biostimulant, as it activates the defense and growth mechanisms of plants.
What Are Worm Castings?
Worm castings are a great natural fertilizer, rich in essential plant nutrients such as nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium.
It also contains microbes that help plants grow.
Many people think that worms in the garden are enough to fertilize all the plants.
However, the population of these worms in the soil is usually low, and, in most cases, there is little organic matter, which slows down this natural process.
That’s why worm farming was created: cultivating worms in captivity, with conditions controlled, to produce quality castings.
In addition, it is easy to build; it has low cost and, when well planned, requires little work to maintain.
That’s why we’ve created this worm farming guide to serve as a reference source if you want to know everything there is to know about this wonderful universe.
Have Fun With Your Worm Farming!
You are now equipped with all the information you need to start your own successful worm farm from the comfort of your own home without breaking the bank or losing your hair in the process.
We wish you the best of luck and success in starting your worm farm and hope this article serves you as a valuable resource while you carry out this process.