Preview: Start Your Own Worm Farm For Better Soil

The keys to making nutrient-rich compost and improving soil health lies with the efforts of the worms in your garden!
worm farm, worms, fishing bait
Photo by Bigstock.com

For the Winter 2015 issue of THE NEW PIONEER, author Gil Lackey investigated the process of vermicomposting and its role in creating nutrient-rich compost. By harvesting a worms’ byproducts, a gardener can utilize a number of new tools to keep their soil producing great fruits and veggies.

“In nature, the ongoing recycling process breaks down any once-living material into the nutrients plants use. If you leave your leaves and grass clippings alone, they can take years to compost. Feeding organic matter to earthworms, a classification of worms whose bodies are segmented, can speed up the process, creating compost in as little as three months,” said Lackey. “The millions of microbes living inside worms make short work of converting your kitchen waste, paper products and other organic matter into nutrient-rich compost.”

Lackey also described which species of worms were best when looking to start your own worm farm and how each needed to be cared for.

Digging up whatever worm variety you come across in your garden will most likely produce poor results. Nightcrawlers, for example, are difficult to raise because they burrow deep into the ground,” noted Lackey.

He continued, “The most popular worm species for worm farming is the red wiggler, also known as redworm or Eisenia fetida. Unlike many earthworms that live in solitude in permanent burrows, the red wiggler is communal and burrows randomly through the litter layer of topsoil. Another benefit of redworms is that they are unlikely to try to escape because they dislike light. Most importantly, red wigglers reproduce quickly and can consume more than half their body weight in organic debris every day.”

To read the full article, check out the Winter 2015 issue of THE NEW PIONEER, available on newsstands and digitally on October 21, 2014. To subscribe or purchase, visit http://www.realworldsurvivor.com/subscribe.