Welcome back to the series on organic fertilizer. As promised, today’s article will explain how to build worm beds for making organic fertilizer, also called vermicompost and vermicastings.
There are many different ways to make worm beds, and many of them are determined by the size area you have available. The smallest can be a a plastic tote, or storage box, wooden crate or anything along that line, and of course the largest can be the commercialized structures. Today, we will talk about a cheap and efficient way to grow your worms and make vermicastings.
If you have limited space, three styrofoam coolers will work. This is the step by step method for making your worm bed.
1. Place an empty styrofoam cooler on a work table, or even on the floor. Do not put holes in this cooler. Also do not cover it.
2. Place a second cooler on top of the first, but this cooler should contain small holes in it’s bottom.
3. You can use many different type bedding materials in this cooler, such as grass clippings, leaves, peat moss, and even shredded newspapers. You will also place your worms in this cooler, along with food scrapes. Do not place, meat, citrus or tomatoes in the cooler. They will cause a stench and be harmful to the worms. It is best if you can chop or shred these scrapes. It allows to worms to digest it faster. I do not cover this cooler either, but keep a light on over it at night. That gives the worms more circulation, and the light keeps them from crawling out.
4. I add water to the top cooler as needed to keep the contents moist, and the water, in turn, drains through the casting and leaves a worm tea solution in the bottom cooler. This is later used as fertilizer and will control some insects when spayed onto your plants and trees.
5. Continue adding scrapes, but don’t put so many in that the worms can’t keep up with the process. As the top cooler’s material fills up and turns to an almost black color, place a third cooler on top of that one. It should have small holes in it also. Begin placing bedding and scrapes into this cooler, and as the food runs out in the middle one, the worms will enter the top cooler through the holes. When they have finished their migration, you are left with the middle cooler full of vermicastings and the bottom cooler containing worm tea.
6. You can transfer your vermicatings into another holding container, as well as your worm tea, and use your coolers to start the process over again. You will soon have so many worms that you will need to set up another processing system like the first.
Also, it is important that you don’t close up your vermicompost and worm tea to the point it cannot get air. Air is what keeps the bacteria and microbes working in the finished product.