Composting your own food waste at home is a great way to go greener and boost resilience. Wherever you live, and no matter how much space you have, vermicomposting can be a fantastic composting solution.
All composting is a great eco-friendly, sustainable activity. It can help you grow at least some of your own food successfully. What is more, it can help you reduce the amount of food you must buy, and your reliance on damaging systems.
No matter how you compost, it can also help you reduce the food waste you send to landfill. Food waste sent to landfill produces methane – a greenhouse gas at least 25 times more potent than carbon dioxide. So this is a very important thing to do.
Vermicomposting is composting with the help of special red worms (Red Wigglers / eisenia fetida or European Nightcrawlers / Eisenia hortensis). But why is composting with red worms such a good idea? Why should we choose vermicomposting rather than a different type of composting system?
Here are 5 reasons to start vermicomposting right now! 👇
1. For Quick & Successful Compost Creation
Setting up a worm farm and enlisting wriggling helpers to aid in composting can speed up the process of compost creation when compared to other cold composting systems. With red worms to eat their way through and aerate the material, it will break down more quickly than it will do in a regular compost heap or bin.
The red worms will process the material through their bodies, passing out 'worm castings' which enrich and improve the finished compost.
2. For an Amazing Soil Amender
These 'worm castings' – a polite term for worm poo – will not only improve the finished compost you can create. They are also great for improving the soil in your garden. Both in their texture and their nutrient content, worm castings are a soil amender that is second-to-none.
The worm castings enriched compost you create can be used in a number of ways around your garden. You can use it to:
- Top-dress existing growing areas as a surface mulch (ideal in a 'no dig' garden, where the precious soil ecosystem is disrupted as little as possible).
- Create the top layer to plant into in a new 'lasagna bed' or hügelkultur mound.
- Fill raised beds, planters or containers.
- As a component in a homemade seed starting mix. (I recommend 1/3 garden soil, 1/3 worm compost, and 1/3 leaf mold. But there are a number of recipes that could be used to make your own potting mix or seed starting mix.).
3. To Gain a Liquid Fertilizer for Your Plants
Vermicomposting containers can be made in a range of different ways. But good examples of worm farms have some means to drain off excess liquid from the materials as they decompose within. The liquid you drain from your worm bin will be an additional yield from your vermicomposting system.
The nutrient rich brew can be watered down (3 parts water to 1 part of this liquid) to make a DIY general purpose liquid fertilizer for your plants. You can use this form of 'compost tea' to give your plants a boost.
4. To Make The Most of Small Spaces
Worm farms come in many shapes and sizes. Vermicomposting systems can be set up to suit even the smallest of spaces. Even if you do not have a garden at all, vermicomposting could be implemented inside your home. A small worm farm can quite happily be placed within a cupboard under your kitchen sink or in a utility space in your home, which means that this is a composting system you could employ even in an inner-city apartment.
By combining small-scale vermicomposting with bokashi fermentation, you can create a small space way to deal with an even greater variety of household food waste.
5. To Feed Fish or Poultry as Well as Plants
One final thing that distinguishes vermicomposting when it is compared to other forms of composting is that you will be breeding worms as well as making compost. Over time, the worm population in a well-kept worm bin will expand. The worm population in your worm farm should roughly double in around 3 months. And excess worms can be used in a range of different ways around your property.
Once interesting use for the Eisenia foetida or Eisenia hortensis worms bred in your vermicomposting system is as food for other garden system creatures. For example, you can feed red worms to certain fish in aquaponics systems, or feed worms as a supplemental protein source to backyard chickens.
Cultivating red worms can be an interesting way to implement a number of closed loop food producing systems where you live. So, if you are trying to live more sustainably, this is one more reason to start vermicomposting right now.