1. Vermi-compost and vermicomposting

  • Vermcompost is the product of composting using various species of earth worms, to create an organic fertilizer and soil conditioner rich of water-soluble nutrients, from vegetable and food waste and other decomposable organic materials.

Harvested worm castings
Harvested worm castings

  • Vermicomposting is one of the fastest way to recycle food waste into one of the most powerful organic fertilizers. It produces immediately a liquid fertilizer, the “worm tea”, while the end product after two months is a solid fertilizer, the vermicompost, also known as worm castings, worm humus or worm manure. These products are not only rich in Nitrogen, Phosphor and Potassium, like chemical fertilizers, but also contain more than 60 types of beneficial bacteria and fungi.

  • Vermicomposting requires specific worm species and basic understanding of their vital needs. It also requires appropriate feeding and regular monitoring. Compared to classic composting, vermi-composting is “clean” and sustainable, it doesn’t smell bad, and with a special vermicomposting system, the worms are even able act as natural pesticide or reduce and disable specific harmful bacteria and chemical components. Vermicompost is black and smells the fresh forest.

2. The Earthworms

  • Eisenia Foetida
    Eisenia Foetida

Eisenia foetida are the most adapted, used and known earthworm species for decaying organic material. Originally from Europe, they are also known under various common names, including red worms, brandling worms, tiger worms and red wiggler worms. They are different from common worms species found in gardens or forest. They are red with yellow stripes.

  • external image red_worms.jpg
They are epigeal, i.e. they live at the surface of the ground. They thrive in rotting vegetation, compost and manure. They can rarely be found in soil, and prefer conditions where other worms cannot survive. Other specific earthworm species are also adapted to vermi-composting, like Eisenia Andrei. More common species, e.g. Lombricus or Dendrei, can also be used but produces more slowly inferior quality compost.

3. Natural habitat

  1. http://www.livestrong.com/article/221669-the-best-composting-worms/
  2. http://www.gardenguides.com/85269-identify-worms-compost-bins.html

4. Identification

  1. Earthworm Identification (excellent guide) : http://www.naturewatch.ca/english/wormwatch/identifying_earthworms.html
  2. Eisenia Foetida vs.Lombricus : http://www.redwormcomposting.com/2011/05/page/2/
  3. Eisenia Foetida : http://www.livestrong.com/article/221669-the-best-composting-worms/
  4. Eisenia Foetida : http://www.livestrong.com/article/188420-good-worms-for-composting/