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Vermicomposting for Better Soil
Vermicompost is merely nothing more than worm castings after you have fed them a diet of organic material. It is one of the best forms of fertilizer you can add to your garden. So good that many home vegetable gardeners have created worm farms and vermicompost bins in their own back yards, sheds, garages and basements. It is easy to do and fairly inexpensive. As with anything, the more work you put into it the less it will cost.

To get a better understanding of vermicomposting and what it could mean for your home vegetable garden I turned to Justen Garrity, the President of Veteran Compost. Justen operates a commercial worm composting facility in Maryland with over a half million worms.

Benefits
Just like with other forms of composting, vermicompost is an easy, environmentally friendly, and in many cases, a fun way to create much needed nutrients for your soil. Justen says, “Instead of sending your fruit/vegetable scraps, shredded paper and newspapers to landfills, you can use worms to recycle that material into worm castings.” Worm castings are a great way to help reduce the affect of diseases on plants, rejuvenates the soil by adding nutrients and assists with plant growth.

Worm Species
If you were to look into a science book specifically on worms, you will see that there are literally thousands to choose from, although many are more than likely, not available in your area. “The best worms are the red wigglers,” says Justen. “ They have evolved over millions of years to become nature’s best worm for eating organic waste.”

Cost
So how much does it cost to run a worm farm at home? Depends really on how much you want to spend. “Expect to pay about $20 to $30 for a pound of worms,” Says Justen. As for housing you can spend $80 for the Worm Factory DS3GT 3-Tray Worm Composter or build your own for under $15 with nothing more than a plastic bin, a drill and some time.

Worm Population
If you feed your worms a nice healthy diet of organic material, i.e. your food leftovers, leaves, grass etc., you can expect your worm population to double about every 90 days. So what do you do with all of those worms? “Red Wigglers will self-regulate their population based on the size of the bin, the amount of food, the moisture level and temperature,” says Justen. “You don’t have to worry about a rapidly growing population taking over your house.” However, if you do feel like you have too many worms, Justen recommends that you simply remove them and share with some friends, other gardeners and fisherman.

Happy Vermicomposting!
"vermicompost is an easy, environmentally friendly, and in many cases, a fun way to create much needed nutrients for your soil"
Monday, February 13, 2012
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Mike Podlesny is the author of Vegetable Gardening for the Average Person: A Guide to Vegetable Gardening for the rest of us, the moderator for the largest vegetable gardening page on Facebook and creator of the monthly Seeds Club.
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