Earthworms

Some tips on making earthworm compost

Farmers can buy earthworm compost but it’s much cheaper to make it on your farm.

We all know the garden earthworm, but earthworm farmers use red wriggler earthworms which are quite different to garden earthworms. Red wrigglers wouldn’t survive in the soil because they are composting worms that only consume plant waste. Garden earthworms eat and secrete soil, supplying it with oxygen.

The worm population in a commercial wormery is about 75 000 strong. The worms feed off layers of waste, laid down inside the bins, and often chopped up to make digestion easier.

In one worm farming bin, red wrigglers produce a ton of vermi-compost every six to eight weeks. The reproductive cycle is 45 days and the life cycle is eight years. When the worm bin gets too small for the growing population, the farmer can simply move some of the worms into either another worm bin or into a deepish hole in the soil (50cm X 20cm).

Remember these worms don’t eat soil, so keep feeding them in their new soil habitat.

EARTHWORMS HAVE HIGH PROTEIN CONTENT

Adaptable earthworms can enhance the growth and colour of Koi fish in the Koi farming industry. Not surprising, since the protein content of earthworms is seven times higher than that of the typical koi diet. There could be a gap in the market to use earthworms as a source of protein in human diets.

Worm farming has caught on at a number of Africa’s well-known hotels and Zambia boasts its own worm culture operation at the Falls Resort. Here and elsewhere vermi-compost and vermi-tea is keeping flower and vegetable gardens healthy and productive.

For information about earthworm products visit the website www.fullcycle.co.za, or write to Full Cycle’s Green by Nature at P O Box 480, Mcgregor, 6708. South Africa, phone +27 (0)21 789 2922 or email mail@fullcycle.co.za

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