Vermi-composting

VERMI-COMPOST

Vermi-composting or worm composting, is a great thing to do in small or large spaces.  I have built some “decorative” wooden bins to have a worm bin in inconspicuous places.

The two that are featured here can be used as benches.

Worm bins or vermi-composting bins can be made from just about anything.  A quick internet search can provide all sorts of ideas and tips.  There are some examples here on the other pages of this website, and if you would like to have one built and live somewhere in the southern Alberta region I would be happy to help.

The worm bins that I have built are wooden and use approximately 90% recycled materials.  I can build them to suit any spot so if you are interested please contact me.

Vermicomposting is a method of composting that utilizes the habits of specific worms, usually red wigglers (Eisenia foetida or Eisenia andrei) or European night crawlers (Eisenia hortensis), to consume the feedstock. This is not to say that worms are the only organisms in the compost, or even the most numerous. They are merely the most visibly present primary consumers. Worms, mites, fungi and actinomycetes are just some of the beneficial primary consumers possible in a vermicompost. Other visible consumers that may be in a vermicompost include beetles, mites and spiders. Each compost will contain its own unique ecosystem and therefore knowing what specific microscopic consumers are present, and their populations would require a laboratory sample being analyzed.

Temperature and moisture are two variables that can be problematic when composting with worms. The worms themselves need to be protected from elements outside like mice or rats that will eat them; therefore, the compost is more dependent on the feedstock added than other forms of composting.   If the particle size of the feedstock is too large, or the bin is set in direct sunlight, the temperature may raise within the compost to a temperature that will harm or kill the organisms in the bin. If the feedstock is too wet, the organisms may not be able to do their job properly, and the holes that the worms create in the material do not stay open, so air is not allowed to penetrate in to the pile creating anaerobic conditions, which could harm or kill the organisms. The organisms produce liquids as well, so the moisture content management is paramount in vermicomposting methods. It should be stated that the opposite is also true. If the temperature is too low or the conditions are too dry, there will be negative feedback as well. The composting process slows considerably as the temperature lowers, and dry conditions allow for any fly eggs to mature, among other issues. Vermicomposting is a more controlled method of continuous composting than others and the balance needed for the ecosystem to thrive is maintained by the feedstock. If careful consideration is given before each addition of material, or feeding, conditions can be kept close to optimum