About Vermiculture


The art of composting has been part of our global culture since ancient times. The basic principles are quite simple, and adhering to them will result in an efficient and successful outcome. Studies have shown that home composting can divert an average of 700 lbs. of material per household per year from the waste stream. Municipal composting carries a greater environmental cost, but not nearly as high as if leaf and yard waste are disposed of by conventional means.

Today there are several different reasons why composting remains an invaluable practice. Yard and food wastes make up approximately 30% of the waste stream in the United States. Composting most of these waste streams would reduce the amount of Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) requiring disposal by almost one fourth, while at the same time provide a nutrient-rich soil amendment. Compost added to gardens improves soil structure, texture, aeration, and water retention.

When mixed with compost, clay soils are lightened, and sandy soils retain water better. Mixing compost with soil also contributes to erosion control, soil fertility, proper pH balance, and healthy root development in plants.

The standard means of disposal for most yard and food waste include landfilling and incineration. These practices are not as environmentally or economically sound as composting. Yard waste which is landfilled breaks down very slowly due to the lack of oxygen. As it decomposes, it produces methane gas and acidic leachate, which are both environmental problems

Vermicomposting is the easiest way to recycle food wastes and is ideal for people who do not have an outdoor compost pile. Composting with worms avoids the needless disposal of vegetative food wastes and enjoy the benefits of a high quality compost. It is done with "redworms" (Eisenia fetida) who are happiest at temperatures between 50o and 70o F and can be kept indoors at home, school, or the office. Worms process food quickly and transform food wastes into nutrient-rich "castings."

The worms will gradually reproduce or die according to the amount of food they receive. A sudden addition of a large amount of food waste may attract fruit flies, so increases should be made gradually.

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