Jun 1, 2010

Vermicomposting Business (Kitchen Wastes to Gold)

Vermi the Worm
Vermicomposting is a composting procedure, which uses worms to produce organic fertilizer. Earthworms are also called vermi. The earthworm species used in this type of compost production is the African Nightcarwler (Eudrilus eugeniae) as they are the ones suited to be grown in the Philippines.

Raw materials used are kitchen wastes, dried leaves, and animal manure. Of course you’re going to need the earthworms to pave the way for making your own organic fertilizer.


Organic composts produced can be sold to organic farmers. Nutrients in
vermicompost are often much higher than traditional garden compost. The offspring of the initial worms can be sold to others who want to start their own vermicomposting. Also, the worms can be sold to fishpond owners as fish meal.

Here are the things you need to start your own vermicomposting business aside from the worms. A kilo of earthworm is more than enough for one earthworm bed.

Raw materials:

Kitchen wastes (food scraps, fruit or vegetable trimmings/peelings
Dry leaves
Animal manure (dry and at least 2 months old)

Other Tools and Materials:

Vermi or earthworm bed (Dimensions: 2x1x0.3meters)
Black plastic garbage bags
Gardening gloves
Spading fork
Strainer/sifter
Shovel

Procedure:

1. Shred or grind the food wastes, peelings, trimmings and dried leaves.

2. You can add animal manure (chicken, cow or pig manure) to the shredded kitchen wastes. By adding manure, the nutrient content of the finished product is improved.

3. Prepare the earthworm bed by following the dimensions mentioned above. Wood can be used to construct the worm bed as they provide more insulation and are more absorbent. However, do not use highly aromatic wood for constructing the vermi bed as these might kill the worms. Plastic bins and containers may also be used (See Notes below).

4. Make sure that there is good water drainage in the bed.

5. Prepare bedding by putting shredded newspaper (non-glossy), leaves, hay or sawdust at the bottom of the worm bed.

6. Moisten the bedding, cover and allow the bedding materials to set for a few days.

7. After it has set, create air space for the worms by gently lifting the bedding materials.

8. Add worms to the top of the moist vermi bed.

9. Make sure to protect the worms from predatory animals.

10. You can add food wastes by pulling back on the bedding material and cover the wastes (See Notes). Grinding the food scraps before adding to the bedding can speed up composting time.

11. The compost is ready if most of the materials have been digested. This process takes about 30 to 45 days

Harvesting Vermicompost and Worms:

1. Handpicking each worm may take you a long time to fully separate the worms from the compost. A more easy way of harvesting the compost and separating the vermi is to make your own harvester frame using 2x4’s with a 3/16-inch wire mesh at the bottom.

2. If there are larger pieces of compost, you can add them to the new batch bedding and vermi worms.

3. Pack the compost in sacks and store in cool dry place.

4. Harvested earthworms can be used on the next cycle

Notes:

1. Adding food wastes

a. Earthworms can eat most food and yard wastes including fruit and vegetable wastes, ground egg shells and coffee grounds . However, amounts of citrus wastes, such as kalamansi and orange wastes should be limited as this can make the finished compost to be too acidic. Also, avoid putting meat, fish, cheese and oily foods these may attract mice and roaches.

b. When adding food wastes to the bed, lift the bedding material and bury the food wastes. As you add more, bury them on other sites of the worm bed. Exposed food wastes can attract flies and other animals.

c. Make sure that the bed does not become too soggy as this can harm the worms. Make sure that the bed has just the right moistness and temperature.

d. Avoid overloading the vermi bed with food scraps as this can result in foul odors.

e. Avoid adding insecticides, plastics, glass and pet manures.

2. Protecting the worms

a. You should protect the worms from predatory animals. Cover the worm bed, but making sure air can pass through. You can use nets or wire mesh to protect them.

b. Avoid exposing the worms from direct sunlight or artificial lights as the worms hate them.

3. Worm Bed

a. As stated earlier wood and plastic can be used. Plastic containers and old barrels can also be used. Just make sure to drill holes on the containers to allow good drainage.

b. Avoid using chemical containers.

c. Make sure that the container is no more than 12 inches deep.

If you are looking for a starter kit for vermiculture in the Philippines, try visiting the Earthworm Sanctuary.

Post By: David Mangusan Jr., PTRP

Sources:
www.dti.gov.ph
www.vermiphil.com

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