Dr. Angela Agrios, ND
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Creates Organic Fertilizer Interview with David Karp
Worm composting, also called vermicomposting, is one of the easiest methods for reusing fruit and vegetable scraps from your kitchen and yard. All you need is a container filled with moistened bedding, worms and food scraps. The worms, with help from micro-organisms, convert the bedding and food waste into compost in only a few weeks. Worm composting is so simple it can be done virtually anywhere: schools, offices or homes. It is a natural method for recycling nutrients in food waste. The resulting compost is an excellent soil amendment that can be used to make potting soil for house plants or as a fertilizer for your garden. Worm compost is also a rich source of nitrogen, making it an excellent organic fertilizer. Finally, the worm tea (the liquid that is produced during the composting process) is also an excellent organic fertilizer and contains many essential minerals and nutrients plants need to grow.
So what you’ll do is you'll start off with a worm bin, and a worm bin is with worms. You take a little bit of core; you soak this in some water; you wring it out to the consistency of a wet sponge, and you dump in a bag of worms about the size of two handfuls. And what they’ll do is they’ll eat this, but in order for it to be a little bit better organics and better fertilizer, you put all your scraps in anything that’s vegetarian. You can even put in your junk mail, as long as you chop it up a little bit better for them so they can eat it. You can do melons, melon rinds, tomatoes, grapes anything pasta, bread, but no cheeses, no dairy, no citrus. The citrus kind of bothers the worms a bit because of the oil in the citrus.
The worms will reproduce in about two to three weeks, and then another couple months or so maybe six months you'll have twice to two to three to four times as many worms as you started out with, providing that they're warm enough, cool enough, it’s wet enough in their bins. You'll know when things are happening. If they don’t leave the bin, everything’s happy. Worms eat their weight in food every day. You can feed them once a week, and they’ll be just fine with that. You'll pull it back…and you can see some of the worms in here already. You pull it back, and you put in the rind.
Obviously, this has been here for about two to three days. Then you push it back in, and here’s a banana peel. You can put it in there. You can chop it up if you want or you can leave it whole, and then you bury the food so that the fruit flies and things and ants don’t get in there. And then in about a week, all that will be gone and you feed the worms again. And this is what their bedding is and this is what they live in, and this mimics the two or three inches of dirt that’s in the jungle.
Now ultimately what you want is you want to be able to get to this point here is the castings. Castings is the poop. You'll see the difference in color between one and the other: One is a lot darker than the other one is.
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So what you do is you take these castings and there are still some worms in here and then what you'll do is you'll put a handful at a time around your plants, outdoors or indoors, and you water it. And this is a time-release organic fertilizer. But what happens is all this stuff goes through the bottom and when this top part gets to be like that part, then you put your second layer on and you put more food in there and then they’ll crawl up through the grate on the second one and you can have more worm castings.
You can also run water through this and spray it on your plants. You can put the castings on your grass and once you water it, it’ll bring all the earthworms up near the surface and make your grass a lot greener. You'll cut your water bill by about 50 percent easily by just using organic worm castings in your garden. And you can even put your grass clippings in here; they’ll eat that.