Guide to Perform Domestic Vermicomposting
Vermicomposting is one of the simplest and most cost-effective solutions we can make in our homes. Taking into account that the remains that are used to obtain the vermicompost are organic remains, which suppose more than 40% of our waste in the home.
With this, we can fertilize and enrich our soils in a 100% ecological way, and at the same time, we will reduce a lot the organic waste that we generate.
Recycling the remains, nowadays, is more a duty than an alternative.
What is Domestic Vermicomposting?
Vermicomposting is a way to get a high-quality organic fertilizer, using organic waste generated at home or in the garden. This fertilizer or compost is called Vermicompost.
The decomposition of organic waste is generated by worms, for which conditions and a container that adapts to them are necessary.
It is not necessary a large space, it is more, we can place it on a floor, balcony, terrace, patio … since the spaces they require are small.
Why do Vermicompost at home?
As we have explained before, it is a simple way to reduce waste and get a good quality fertilizer.
The reasons for performing domestic vermicompost are the following:
We will reduce the organic waste that we send to landfills.
We will obtain an ideal ecological fertilizer for the garden and garden plants.
In a global way, vermicomposting and compost generate savings in transport and waste management.
To raise awareness and educate the population about the importance of separating different kinds of waste.
The earthworms will provide us with a humus of the highest quality, much better than any other type of fertilizer. Since it favors the growth and development of the roots of plants.
What are the optimal conditions that earthworms need?
The earthworms most used to perform the vermicompost are the red worms to make Worm Humus.
It is a red worm, with the tail somewhat flattened and yellowish. They usually measure between 5 and 9 centimeters and 3 to 5mm thick.
The optimal conditions that are needed are the following:
Humidity → needs a constant humidity.
Absence of light → cannot tolerate light. Therefore, the containers are prepared for this.
Ph → cannot tolerate a value below 4.5 of Ph. Acidic soil does not fare well.
Temperature → can resist temperatures between 4º and 30º C, but its ideal temperature is around 20º C.
Food → The remains of vegetables and fruit of house is to your liking.
From 3 months of age, the worms are in optimal conditions to reproduce. For each egg laying, 2 to 20 new worms can appear, these small worms have a size of 1mm and are completely independent. At the beginning, they are of a white color, which after about 6 days becomes pink.
The worms can reproduce an average of 36 times a year and each worm can produce 0.3 grams of earthworm humus a day.
How to make the Vermicompost?
The first thing we must choose is the place to put it, we can put it on a terrace, patio, balcony and even inside the house.
If the site we choose is outside, we must take into account that it is in the shade and that we can protect it from frost.
We must acquire a vermicomposter and a corresponding substrate so that earthworms can live in it. Normally the vermicompost incorporates the substrate.
If we do not have the substrate we can mix soil from the garden and some sheep manure and horse already fermented. This land must be left extended for about 15 days so that it gets angry before introducing it in the vermicompost. When the earth changes to a dark brown color and does not generate any bad smell, it will be ready.
For the placement in the vermicompost we will first put a sheet of newspaper or a cardboard, second the substrate, then the worms and, finally, a layer of organic waste from our home or garden.
The amount of waste will depend on the number of worms and the size of the vermicomposter.
In a period of 7 to 15 days, the worms consume all the substrate. This will depend on the amount of food that we provide them. When the substrate is consumed, it will remain in small lumps, which will indicate that there is no food left.
As we throw away debris, the worms will go up, since consumption will be done from the bottom up. The vermicompost of low anger getting the necessary maturity and will be free of worms to extract it from the vermicompost.
In turn, the worms will produce leachate, which is a liquid that is collected in the lower tray of the vermicomposter. This is a high quality liquid fertilizer for our plants.
What remains can we use and what cannot be used to carry out Vermicompost?
We need adequate remains for an optimal result. It is very important to enter the suitable remains. The essential ingredients are Nitrogen and Carbon in an adequate proportion.
– We can obtain nitrogen from domestic remains such as carcasses and skins of fruits and vegetables. They have a high nitrogen and their carbon-nitrogen ratio is very low. It is convenient to chop them and cover them with paper so that the flies do not come when we introduce them in the vermicomposter.
We can also introduce remains of grass but in small quantities.
– Carbon or cellulose type fiber is introduced to make the material more spongy and loose. It allows a better aeration, and after finishing the decomposition process leaves fiber thread that improves earthworm humus.
We can provide cereal husks, paper, cardboard … It is advisable that paper or cardboard is not treated. To enter them in the vermicompost will be crushed and moistened.
Earthworm Care Council
– Others such as egg shells, ground coffee, bags of infusions, hair …
The eggshells will give us calcium, but we must introduce it very crushed. Coffee and tea can be applied in small quantities. On the other hand, the hairs will be applied without a problem because they degrade easily.
It is essential to add different carbon and nitrogen inputs and introduce the most crushed waste possible.
The remains that we must not introduce will be:
Large amounts of traces of citrus, onions, spices or acidic foods.
Animal bones, meat or fish.
Cheese or dairy
Butter, or meals seasoned with sauces and spices.
Satin paper, as it goes plasticized.
Poisonous plants or with insecticide.
Leaves of willow, noble, walnut or chestnut.
How to solve in my Vermicompostadora the problem of …?
Bad odor: This is due to the decomposition of some remains not to be ingested by the worms. It may be because they do not like it or it is too big.
We will remove the remains and we will add paper or cardboard cut into pieces.
Excess of flies: It is due to add many fresh remains, mainly fruits, without covering with paper.
We must remove and open the lid of the vermicompost to get the flies out and then cover the remains with paper.
Ants: This may indicate that there is a lack of moisture in the vermicomposter. We can apply Vaseline to prevent access to the vermicomposter.
I leave on vacation: The worms can withstand up to 4 weeks without feeding.
Before leaving, we will provide plenty of food and try to keep the humidity with water bottles nailed upside down on the substrate. We can also cover the vermicompost with rags or wet fabrics.
It is too dry: In the warmer months, we must control the humidity, with this, we also facilitate the creation of organic liquid fertilizer. In the months of autumn and winter, if the location of the vermicompost is good, it is not necessary to water it.
A decrease in worms: This may be the cause of one of the problems described above. It can also be due to some rest that they do not like, if this is the case we must remove it from the vermicomposting machine and apply new fresh remains.
What does Vermicompost bring to our plants?
It is the fertilizer with the best structure and the highest content of nutrients there is. It is the best fertilizer we can get to apply to all types of plants, we can use it in the garden, home, field, organic garden …
It is easy to assimilate for plants and yields 5 times more than common manure. Once the vermicompost has been removed, it is advisable that it be heated for 2 weeks.
It can be used as a cover fertilizer in the garden, to mix with a substrate for the development of seedbeds, mix with the substrate of your pots, fertilize fruit trees or ornamental …
Utilization of vermicompost compost
The leachate obtained by this process is a high quality liquid fertilizer that we can also use for all the plans