Vermicast is the black gold of gardening and farming. Worms have been processing waste and building soil forever, so it makes sense that what they produce is what’s best for the soil and plant life. Worms concentrate the nutrients from organic ‘waste’ into forms which are much more available to plants. Vermicast also increases the water and nutrient holding capacities of the soil, improves soil texture and helps protect against diseases. But they need a varied diet in order to produce a rich vermicast suited to your needs. High in manure and it is more bacterial, high in woody waste and it is more fungal. While the higher bacterial may work well for your pastures the higher fungal is better for orchards.
Read more here The Benefits of Worms and Vermicast
Many worm farms are geared towards the collection of ‘worm wee’ but we use a different method and collect vermicast only. This style of worm farm allows the worms access to the ground. Which means if environmental factors are not optimal for the worms they can retreat to the soil. This could be high temperatures, too dry, too wet or lack of food, it is essentially a survival system for the worms. As ‘worm wee’ is basically leachate from your worm farm (which could mean there is too much moisture in it) you are actually better of harvesting the worm castings (vermicast) and if a liquid fertiliser is required soaking this in water to create a vermicast extract.
There is also no plastic involved in the construction of our worm farm, in fact it is built almost entirely from upcycled or reclaimed resources. The timber is pallet wood, screws and hinges came from our local dump shop and the chain from the stash in the shed. Being untreated timber, it does have a shorter life span, but this also means no contact with treated timber to the worms and vermicast. Previous bins have lasted well over two or more years, so considering it has cost us next to nothing that’s good value in my books.
This model has a few improvements on the previous ones. A hinged lid with a chain for ease of use and larger access at the base for removal of vermicast. The bracing must be on the outside so the organic matter can move easily down the bin as any ledges within the bin can create blockages which stop the organic matter dropping to the bottom. It is also larger to allow for greater vermicast creation as we intend to use it as a full property fertiliser. The design is pretty straight forward and flexible depending on resources. This one is approximately 1 metre tall and 80 cm x 68 cm wide.