Effortlessly transform your organic waste into rich natural fertilizer? Then opt for a vermicompost which offers an excellent amendment without inconvenience.
Read also :
- Make your compost
- Make an apartment composter with vermicompost
- 10 use of coffee grounds in the garden
What is vermicompost?
In a traditional compost, you collect your kitchen and garden waste. As they decompose, they form a rich and natural organic fertilizer. Vermicompost works the same way except that it is inhabited by worms, which feed on these residues, to create a fertilizer from their droppings.
Worms, droppings, these two words do not sound very glamorous… However, the container is closed, it does not emit any odor and decomposition is rapid.
Where to place the vermicomposter?
The ideal environment
The vermicomposter should be between 15 ° C and 25 ° C for the worms to be active and healthy. Below and above, their activity will be slowed down. If temperatures drop below 5 ° C or rise above 30 ° C, they may die. It can be outside if you protect it in frost and provide shade in the summer. Worms live in a humid environment, but not in an aquatic environment! Therefore, it should not rain inside the container, nor the substrate to be completely dry. Keep the lid closed and if it is hot and dry, feel free to spray water inside. Ideally, place your vermicompost in a quiet and well ventilated space.
Vermicompost in an apartment
Given the temperatures recommended for vermicompost, it is preferable to place the vermicompost on the balcony, or even in apartment. As long as the worms are in an environment that suits them, vermicompost does not emit an odor! No risk of being invaded by worms either, they dread light and can only stand a few seconds.
Which worms for the vermicomposter?
What species of worms?
It is recommended to place two species of worms in your vermicompost:
- Eisenia Andrei, also called manure worm. Its body is red slightly streaked with yellow, it rather feeds on decaying matter.
- Eisenia Foetida, or California worm from its French name. With a more intense red, it prefers still fresh materials.
Food preferences make these two worms quite compatible for the proper decomposition of organic matter.
How many worms in a vermicompost?
To find out how many worms to install, estimate your waste quantity first. This is because worms feed twice their weight per day. So, double the amount of worms to expect. If you throw away 300g of waste per day, plan for 600g of worms.
Prepare your vermicompost
That's it, you bought (or made) your vermicomposter! We must now create a favorable environment for our dear friends the worms. To do this, we start by creating a litter. Start by placing pieces of cardboard, newspaper and a little sawdust at the bottom to form a layer of carbonaceous material. Add potting soil on top and a handful of sand. Water in fine rain to obtain a moist but not soggy substrate. Then put the earthworms in the container and wait for them to burrow into the litter. Once they're hidden, put in the equivalent of a day's worth of organic matter. It will take them two to three weeks to get used to their new surroundings. Also, if they don't feed on organic matter during this time, don't add it!
What to feed the worms?
It's very simple, only put biodegradable material of plant origin like peelings and tops. Regularly add crushed eggshells to prevent the soil from becoming too acidic. Finally, since plant materials are rich in nitrogen, carbon must also be added using small pieces of cardboard, newspaper (not glossy paper) and paper towels.
Recovery and use of compost
About 6 months after installing the earthworms, you will harvest the famous natural fertilizer. Instead, prefer a tiered vermicompost model that allows easy recovery of the compost in the bottom bin. You can also opt for a model separated into two boxes. Then all you have to do is place the new organic matter in one bin, so the worms desert the second and you can easily collect the compost on the other side. Either way, this soil is very rich! You can use it for:
- Enrich the substrate of your indoor plants
- Add organic fertilizer to your vegetable garden
- Surfacing plants
- Complete the soil when planting
- Enrich the lawn
Finally, don't forget to collect the "compost tea" from the bottom of the vermicomposter! You will then use it as a liquid fertilizer to be diluted in water.
To read → Permaculture: green manure and compost