Worm composting (vermiculture – vermicomposting) is getting more popular because worms increase the speed of composting. They produce worm biomass which is an excellent source of protein and high-quality worm castings or vermicompost rich in plant nutrients.
Worm composting is safe for the environment and significantly reduces human pathogens and plant diseases because of the high population of compost worms and beneficial aerobic soil microorganisms involved in the process of vermicomposting.
The photo above is the worm production from the vermiculture technology. A handful of compost worms (Eisenia andrei) is equal to about a half pound of worms (~250 worms). The image can be zoomed to see the detail. Permission of using this photo is needed by the author.
A high density and quality of compost worms will produce a better quantity and quality of worm castings or vermicomposts from the organic wastes that can be found everywhere.
Intensive vermiculture – vermicomposting consist of several steps that should be followed:
– Right species of compost worms.
– Right density of compost worms.
– Optimal conditions.
– Right mix of organic wastes and addition feed.
– Types of composter design and method.
Most of small-scale worm composting (house-hold systems and small containers) in the market result in compost that is too wet, anaerobic (lack of oxygen), highly acidic, bad smell, inviting flies, mites, and molds. This is because of too much green waste (nitrogen), incorrect container design, and low density of the compost worms including the beneficial aerobic microorganisms in the system.
Actually, it is more difficult to control and achieve the right environment for compost worms to reproduce in a smaller-scale than in a larger-scale vermiculture – vermicomposting.
The right species and density of the compost worms, optimal conditions, selection of organic wastes, and types of worm composter or wormery are the utmost important. Approximately 2 – 5% of the green waste and brown waste will be transferred to compost worm biomass. Approximately 20 – 25% of the organic wastes will be transferred as worm castings or vermicompost.
– Bintoro Gunadi