About Vermiculture

Overview

Vermiculture is the culturing of earthworms for adding to a garden. Earthworms are known to benefit the soil they live in by eating food waste and recycling it into dark, fertile soil conditioner. Vermiculture can be used to compost household kitchen waste into the garden without the need for a large, open composting pile.

Equipment

A container is required to hold your kitchen waste and your worms. A container can be plastic or wood. You can buy large, food-grade plastic containers from a garden or home improvement center, or you can recycle old furniture drawers. Wood is more absorbent and provides a good habitat for the worms, while plastic holds moisture in the soil.

Size

Determine the size of your plastic container by weighing your food waste for one week. Buy a storage container that is one square foot of surface area for each pound of waste.

Bedding

The worms you put into the container will need a bedding of shredded newspaper, cardboard, leaves or dead plants. The bedding must be moist so that the worms will have enough sustenance and water to live. Varying the composition of the bedding will make for richer soil in the long run.

Worm Types

Two worm types are best for vermiculture; red worms, also called red wigglers or Eisenia foetida, and the Lumbricus rubellus worm. These worms thrive in compost heaps and aging dung. They can be found at farms that have livestock and in other compost bins.

Amount of Worms

Supply two pounds of worms for every pound of food waste you have in your bin, which is around 2,000 worms for every pound of food waste.

Composition of Food Waste

The food waste in your compost bin should consist of food scraps, broken-down eggshells and coffee grounds. Use lots of fruit and vegetable peelings in your compost. It is important not to include dairy products, oils and grains as this makes a bad smell and attracts insects. Cover the food waste with bedding to prevent the mass from smelling as it decomposes.

Keywords: vermiculture, composting, worm composting

About this Author

Cleveland Van Cecil is a freelancer writer specializing in technology. He has been a freelance writer for three years and has published extensively on eHow.com, writing articles on subjects as diverse as boat motors and hydroponic gardening. Van Cecil has a Bachelor of Arts in liberal arts from Baldwin-Wallace College.