Monday, November 26, 2007

Vermicomposting 101

First thing to do is choose a location where your vermibin won't get hit by direct sunlight or rain. You may use any kind of container to start with, even old bath tubs. Or, you may dig at least 12 inches into the soil. Since I know they can't live in the soil, i don't bother putting liners but you may do so for easy harvest.

Gather some dried leaves from your garden. Shredded leaves are better but shredders are very expensive. Pile the leaves on your vermibin (not exceeding 12 inches in depth). Water the dried leaves everyday for at least 4 days to a week. This will serve as your bedding. Check the temperature of your bedding, if it's cold to the touch on the 4th day, you're ready to buy some African night crawlers or blue worms.

Rule of thumb is one kilo of composting worms for every square meter of bedding (12 inch deep).


Place the worms on top of the bedding. Never try to put them under, let them find their way through you bedding.

If the parameters of your bin is just right, all of the worms will dive-in in less than 5 minutes.
Things to remember:
Use only dried leaves as bedding.
Temperature should be from 24 to 28 degrees Celsius.
Moisture should be at least 70% (water at least 2x a day).
One kilogram of worms for every square meter of bedding.
Feed them with kitchen refuse (vegetables, fruits and grains only. NO meat please).
Feed them half of their body weight per day. (1 kg. of worms, 1/2 kg. of food a day).
If you have further questions, just post a comment. I know i forgot to put some details, don't be afraid to ask...

27 comments:

Luis Gabriel said...

Hi!

Pardon me for askin, but, where can I buy these blue worms? I have a farm in Batangas and I'd like to experiment on vermicomposting. Thanks in advance!

Raymond said...

you can buy earthworms from AANI at FTI Taguig or at their Quezon Memorial Circle branch. i'm sure there are some organic farmers in your area, maybe you can ask your municipal agriculturist. I think UP los banos sells worms too.

Anonymous said...

hi i am not a farmer and dont even know the meaning of vermicomposting, but i saw your website and it seem's very interesting, i'm willing to learn about this to help some poor farmers in our area to improve thier planting technology specially in ways of organic processing, can you give a complete details on how to implement and step by step procedure for me to follow it correctly.....
i was in your free seminar last sunday(1/6/08) but i came late and didn't understand the whole topic,sorry for that but i hope you can still share youre knowledge when it comes to agriculture...thanks in advance

Anonymous said...

by the way please send it to my email ads ( norielp14@yahoo.com )

Bernard said...

Around how much would a kg of worms be? thanks

Raymond & Mariel......................................... said...

price range for composting worms: 500 to 800 pesos per kg.

Bernard said...

can i use saw dust with chicken manure as my bedding with dried leaves?

Raymond & Mariel......................................... said...

you have to pre compost those materials. saw dust is acidic and chicken manure has high nitrogen content. both materials can be used but i never recomend them, specially chicken manure - contains lots and lots of antibiotic from injection and feeds. But if its chicken manure from free ranged chicken, then it would be safe after precomposting.

Bernard said...

thanx for the info :) you are right. the worms cost 500 per kg here in cebu...

Raymond & Mariel......................................... said...

You're very welcome Bernard. :)

Bernard said...

How do the worms multiply? I heard from someone they multiply at a rate of 5x per month. is this true?

Bernard said...

why cant the worms be expose to rain? sorry for the questions

Raymond & Mariel......................................... said...

Bernard, thanks for the questions.

In a perfect scenario, "maybe" they can multiply up to 5 times, but in the real world, where there are lots of predators, I’d say they can multiply up to 2 times per month given proper care.

Worms still breath air through their skin, and exposing their home to rain might flood their bedding and drown them.

i hope i answered your questions Bernard. Thanks for visiting the site. i will be posting updates later.

Bernard said...

hi raymond...does the pit really start at high temp? i just started to fill my pit and the temp was about 31deg C... will it cool down in the next 4-7 days? thank you.

Raymond & Mariel......................................... said...

yes it will start at a higher temp than what the worms can handle but it will eventually cool down after a couple of days to one week. you're doing a great job.

Bernard said...

how do i know if my bedding is too acidic? or should i just add limestone to reduce the acidity? im using saw dust with chicken manure by the way for my bedding..i know you don't recommend it by i'm just using whats available on my area. but i plan to add the worms about 10 days after

Raymond & Mariel......................................... said...

sorry for the late reply, i just got home from a 3 day seminar in UPLB.

with the materials you are using, i am not concern about acidity, i am concern with the carbon to nitrogen ratio. chicken manure has a high nitrogen content, and sawdust has a high carbon content. if you mix 1 part of chicken manure with 1 or 2 parts of saw dust, it will decompose by itself. and also, using more than 30% sawdust will cause caking. i would suggest that you gather as much dried leaves as you can and mix at least 50% dried leaves, 20% chicken manure and 30% sawdust. you can then add a mixture of chicken manure and sawdust as food. i really do not suggest using chicken manure, with its high nitrogen content, its easier to compost them conventionaly.

AikoN said...

goat manure is great for vermicomposting. i soak the goat manure overnight and then i "feed" them to my ANCs the following morning. dry leaves and grasses with banana trunks are also added

Martz said...

sir,where can i buy red wigglers in cebu?.. bec. i want to start my own composting as soon as possible but i dont have any idea of location in cebu who sell red wigglers......thnks in advance....

Raymond & Mariel......................................... said...

Hello Martz,

Ask your municipal agriculturist for a list of farmers who sell earthworms in your area. I'm sure they can point you to the right person.

Martz said...

sir.can i ask what type of earthworms did you use?...sir is it okay to dig a hole in the ground and make it my composting bin?

Raymond & Mariel......................................... said...

I use african night crawlers and blue worms.

yes you can dig the soil and make it your composting bin, but protect it from direct sunlight and rain.

Martz said...

sir if i put the earthworms to the dig soil would the earthworms stay or go away?...thank u 4 answering my past question sir...^^,

Raymond & Mariel......................................... said...

African nightcrawlers and blue worms are anecic worms. They don't live on the soil, they live on organic matter such as dried leaves. they wont leave a properly prepared bedding.

tacky said...

hi, everyday we use our coffee machine, can i use the filtered coffee beans to feed the worms? thanks!

Raymond and Mariel......................................... said...

Tacky,

coffee grounds/beans are great for worms. if you're using filter papers, you can add that too. vermicompost from coffee grounds are rich in micronutrients.

vermicompoting said...

Hey, nice information. I am also doing research on vermicomosting. This information is very helpful to me and keep posting new updates.