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See all Premium member Presentation Transcript Composting With Earthworms : Composting With Earthworms What is Vermicomposting? : What is Vermicomposting? Vermicomposting is a process that uses earthworms and microorganisms to stabilize active organic materials and convert them to a source of plant nutrients. Vermicomposting Process : Vermicomposting Process Maintains a wide diversity of organisms throughout the process : bacteria, fungi, protozoa, nematodes and microarthropods Eisenia fetida has distinctive indigenous microflora in their gut that contributes to the microbial community in cured vermicompost Earthworm casts are covered with mucus from intestinal tract; this layer provides readily available carbon source for soil microbes and leads to a flush of microbial activity in fresh casts Why is Vermicompost Good For Soil? : Why is Vermicompost Good For Soil? Teeming with beneficial microorganisms and enzymes Improves soil structure Reduces erosion Increases soil porosity Holds moisture Improves pH of acidic soil Vermicompost Effects on Plant Growth, Disease and Pest Suppression : Vermicompost Effects on Plant Growth, Disease and Pest Suppression Increases in *Germination* *Growth* *Flowering* *Crop Yields* Microbes in worm gut produce plant growth hormones that adsorb onto humic acids produced during vermicomposting process Vermicomposts can decrease attacks by plant pathogens, parasitic nematodes and arthropod pests. Turnips Grown With0%, 10%, 20% Castings : Turnips Grown With0%, 10%, 20% Castings Carrots Grown With0%, 10%, 20% Castings : Carrots Grown With0%, 10%, 20% Castings What Kind of Earthworms? : What Kind of Earthworms? Mostly Red Wigglers (Eisenia fetida) Epigeic species found in upper topsoil where feed on decaying matter Anecic: vertical burrows Endogeic: horizontal *BIG* Earthworms : *BIG* Earthworms Oregon Worm (U.S.) grows 2-3 feet long and burrows 5 feet deep. Hasn’t been seen since 1980s. Giant Palouse (Washington) grows to 2 feet long. Hasn't been seen since 1978. Giant Gippsland (Australia) grows 6-10 feet; longest found was 13 feet. Rarely seen, but can hear gurgling sounds as it moves through the earth. Newborns are 8 inches long. North Auckland Worm (New Zealand) grows to 4.5 feet and gives off light at night so bright you can read by its light. South African Giant Earthworm grows to 22 feet and is the largest earthworm known. The record-setting specimen was found beside a road in William's Town, South Africa, in 1967. The worms normally grow to six feet long. (Christian Science Monitor, 2005) Giant Gippsland Worm : Giant Gippsland Worm Eisenia fetida : Eisenia fetida Common Names: Red Wiggler, Redworm, Tiger Worm, Manure Worm Eat at least half their body weight per day 1 lb worms = 1000 redworms 2 lbs worms eat 1 lb food scraps daily What Will Eisenia fetida Eat? : What Will Eisenia fetida Eat? Kitchen scraps & plate scrapings Animal manure Agricultural crop residues Yard trimmings Scrap paper Organic byproducts from industries Sewage sludge Why Vermicompost Food Scraps? : Why Vermicompost Food Scraps? Reduce household garbage disposal costs Keep garbage from getting smelly and attracting pests Reduce impacts of landfills Landfills are largest human-related source of methane in U.S.; 34% of all methane emissions (http://www.epa.gov/methane/sources.html 2006) Save water, electricity, and money by not using kitchen sink garbage disposals Produce a free, high-quality soil amendment How Do I Vermicompost At Home? : How Do I Vermicompost At Home? Determine bin size Build or buy a bin Prepare bedding Add worms Bury food scraps Harvest and use compost What Type of Worm Bin? : What Type of Worm Bin? Wooden box or plastic bin with lid 1 sq. ft. surface area per pound food per week 2 people: 2’ long x 1’ wide x 1’ deep 4-6 people: 3’ long x 2’ wide x 1’ deep Where Do I Put the Worm Bin? : Where Do I Put the Worm Bin? At home: Garage or carport Back porch or deck Kitchen or basement Apartment balcony Where you work: Lunch or break room In your office What Do I Put in the Bin? : What Do I Put in the Bin? Bedding Shredded newspapers Shredded leaves Shredded cardboard Aged horse manure Peat moss Handful of Soil How Do I Prepare the Bedding? : How Do I Prepare the Bedding? Moisten bedding: Soak in water about 30 minutes Wring it out like a sponge Fluff it up before placing in bin Fill bin half way Add more as it disappears Keep bedding moist Spritz dry bedding with a plant mister What Do I Feed the Worms? : What Do I Feed the Worms? Beans Bread & grains Cereal Coffee grounds & filters (not hot!) Eggs & their shells Fruit peels & rinds Melons Pancakes Pasta Pizza Plant clippings Tea leaves Vegetables What Should I NOT Feed Worms? : What Should I NOT Feed Worms? Meat Grease Bones Dairy products Cat or dog feces Mayonnaise Peanut butter How Do I Feed the Worms? : How Do I Feed the Worms? Dig a hole in bedding Put food in hole, cover with bedding Cover well to prevent fruit flies and odor Rotate burial of food scraps What Do I Need to Be Careful About? : What Do I Need to Be Careful About? Temperature: 55-85 F (60-80 ideal) Moisture: 60-85% Aeration: Keep bin aerobic pH: 7.0 best How Do I Harvest the Castings? : How Do I Harvest the Castings? Empty bin onto large plastic sheet Do on sunny day or under strong light Wait half hour, then scrape off top layer all around Remove more compost every half hour, 6-8 times, until only worms left Return worms to bin with fresh bedding How Else Can I Harvest Castings? : How Else Can I Harvest Castings? Feed worms on one side of bin for several weeks Most worms will migrate to that side Harvest side haven’t been feeding Add fresh bedding to empty side Feed only that side for several weeks, then harvest other side Commercial-Scale Vermicomposting : Commercial-Scale Vermicomposting What C/I Sectors Could Vermicompost? : What C/I Sectors Could Vermicompost? Educational institutions Food manufacturing industries Restaurants, supermarkets, shopping centers Wholesale food outlets Fish markets, fruit and vegetable markets Local and state government agencies Prisons, military bases, government centers Hospitals Hotels, apartments, retirement villages Hand-Built Bin at a College : Hand-Built Bin at a College Bench At a Community Garden : Bench At a Community Garden You do not have the permission to view this presentation. In order to view it, please contact the author of the presentation.