What is Worm Composting?
Worm composting, or vermiculture, is one of the easiest ways to recycle food waste because it can be done indoors and is ideal for people who live in apartments and do not have a yard. Vermicomposting is the practice of taking your organic waste and turning it into nutrient-rich fertilizer with the help of worms. If you want to be sure to get composting done at a faster rate and have rich, dark soil, then vermicomposting is right for you.
Vermicompost is more rich in nutrients than the compost from a regular backyard composter. It also performs better as a planting medium than a commercial potting mix with added nutrients. Worm castings, which are produced from vermicomposting, also hold moisture better than plain soil and contain worm mucus which allows for the prevention of nutrients being washed away at first watering.
The best worms to use in vermiculture are red wigglers or Eisenia foetida. These worms live well in highly populated conditions and they don’t burrow. Red wigglers will eat about half of their weight in food a day. That means if you have one pound of worms you can feed them a half pound of food per day. Also, your worm population will double in size about every three months, but they will not overpopulate your worm bin. Red wigglers are self regulating, so they know when there isn’t room for more.
Worm castings, worm poop, black gold or whatever you want to call it, all consists of the same thing: highly concentrated, nutrient-packed fertilizer that you can use for your garden and house plants.
Benefits of Vermicomposting:
- Improves the physical structure of the soil
- Enriches soil with micro-organisms
- Microbial activity in worm castings is 10 to 20 times higher than in the soil and organic matter that the worm ingests
- Improves water holding capacity
- Enhances germination, plant growth, and crop yield
- Improves root growth and structure
- Reduces amount of waste going to landfills
Vermiculture vs Composting:
- Worms create a compost material that is far superior than any compost that is produced without their assistance.
- The compost material that is created by worms is smaller than 2 microns.
- Vermicompost added to soil creates a material that has better water retention, aeration, drainage and stability.
- Vermicompost contains more antiobiotic properties against pathogens than regular compost and higher amounts of natural plant growth hormones.
- Worms have the ability to reduce all bacteria that is pathogenic to animals and people.
What is Bokashi Composting?
Well, Bokashi composting isn’t really traditional composting where organic matter decompose in a compost pile, bin, or tumbler. Bokashi is actually an anaerobic fermentation process developed in Japan which does not generate compost but fermented organic matter which is what the Japanese term Bokashi actually means. Think pickled food waste.
Japanese Professor Dr. Terou Higa introduced the Effective Microorganisms, or EM, in the 1980’s. They were developed from beneficial, naturally occurring microorganisms which can be inoculated into a medium, such as wheat bran, and used to ferment most household kitchen Bokashi Making Kitwaste and food scraps instead of sending it to a landfill.
Bokashi is quickly gaining popularity because it is easy, odor free, inexpensive, and can be kept indoors.
What do I need to make Bokashi compost?
To make Bokashi compost, only three components are needed:
- a Bokashi bucket with an air tight lid. Since this is an anaerobic technique, it has to be air tight. Making your own bucket is an option, but if you use one especially made to ferment organic waste, you will have the advantage of an air tight lid and also a spigot to drain the valuable fluids that are generated by the process;
- a Bokashi mix which typically consists of wheat bran and molasses inoculated with Effective Microorganisms (EM);
- and organic kitchen waste, of course. This includes anything you would put in a regular compost bin, but you can also add; and this is why the process is so interesting; meats, bones, fish, oily foods, and dairy products.
How do I make Bokashi?
Put food scraps in layers in the Bokashi bucket. Start with a one-inch layer and cover with a handful or two of the Bokashi bran mix. Remember to compress or compact the layers to minimize air pockets. You can use a plate or some other sort of tamper. When the Bokashi bucket is full, it should sit and cure for about two weeks so that the microorganisms can go to work.
What do I do with Bokashi?
After the Bokashi has been curing undisturbed for about two weeks, you can do several things with the fermented kitchen scraps:
- Add the mix to your compost bin or compost tumbler.
- Add it to your worm bin and let the red wigglers finish the process.
- Dig a shallow trench in the ground and bury it to let the earth finish the process.
Bokashi tea is a mixture of water and the liquid that is generated during the fermentation process in your bokashi bucket. This liquid can easily be drained from the spigot on your bucket.
The liquid is packed with microbes and nutrients and can be used to make bokashi compost tea. To make the compost tea, dilute the bokashi liquid 1 part to 100 parts water (Example, 1 oz bokashi liquid mixed with 100 oz of water) and then use the bokashi tea to water your indoor or outdoor plants. Your plants will receive benefits from the nutrients and microbes and reward you with improved blooms and growth.
If you have processed animal waste in your Bokashi bucket, we recommend that you use the compost tea on outdoor flower beds only and not on indoor plants or vegetable beds. Always remember that animal waste can contain human pathogens (disease-causing microorganisms) and you should be careful when handling.