by Kimberly Julian, Marle Worm Growers
The technology has been around for a long time, it’s how the gardeners and farmers use to do it; and around it comes again, an all-natural, easy way to be green.
For those of you that are not familiar with the term “vermiculture”, it’s the management of worms and their by-products. Vermicomposting is what the worms do and it is a lot like your standard composting but with some slight differences . . . the big one being, don’t go through the heat cycle or you’ll kill the worms. So instead of tossing your green waste, use it to feed your worms and keep the benefits for your own use.
Red Wiggler Worms (Eisenia fetida) ARE THE #1 composting worms! When you use Red Wiggler Worms in composting, they cut the time in about ½ when compared to the timeline of standard composting; the worms are doing the processing for you. The end product comes out better with an extra enzyme being found in worm cast that you don’t get in standard compost, this enzyme allows the nitrogen to be more readily available for plants.
Vermicomposting also allows you to decide where you would like to compost with a multitude of bins and towers being available to house your worms . . . inside, outside, the laundry room, the garage, on the deck and even that large static compost pile will work. And with very little effort, there’s only a clean earth smell when you lift the lid.
Worms will self-regulate their production, reproducing every 3 months. They produce an egg which, when hatched, produces up to 4 baby worms; they come out hungry and ready to process. The more the worms reproduce, the quicker you get your cast.
There are two usable by-products produced when vermicomposting: worm tea and worm cast. Both are very beneficial, packed with nutrients consisting of 7 times the nitrogen, 10 times the potash, 3½ times the magnesium and 1½ times the calcium of traditional fertilizers. And it’s organic! Your plants will absorb it right away and the micro-organisms will add in rebuilding the soil structure.
Marlé Worm Growers is a family-owned, family-run business based in Otis Orchards. They are also found at marlewormgrowers.com which is packed full of information regarding vermicomposting as well as displaying most of their gardening supplies, soil amendments and vermicomposting products available either on-line or at their retail location of 24411 E Joseph Ave, Otis Orchards, WA.