The output, magical worm tea
the factory, our worm bins
are a boon in a regenerative garden. The worms have a wonderful gut
microbiome, and drenching the soil with diluted worm tea inoculates it
with the right bacteria for healthy soil, plant growth and disease
So, what do they eat, and how do you feed them ?
will eat anything that was once alive. After doing vermiculture for two
decades we've learned that the rules cater for overenthusiastic
beginners. You just need to give them a broad mix and dilute the organic
stuff that is listed as 'verboten'. Only one orange skin in a bin per
feeding for example.
You can read more about ideal worm foods on my husband's award winning worm website. Below are some foods that I happened to have today to feed our worms.
Eggshells help with worm digestion, and ameliorate acidity in the bin.
organic kitchen waste is mainly vegetable off-cuts, but includes herbs,
vegetable cooking water, old coffee, citrus, onion, dough residue,
table sweepings, cooking accidents, and some paper, but no heavily
Algae are very nutritious, protein and vitamin rich, and a by product of cleaning our ponds of excess algae.
Vacuum cleaner dust is full of animal dander and hair, flea larvae, and stardust. The earth is constantly coated with a fine layer of falling dust from meteorites, and being mainly vaporized rocks, dust is mineral rich. Like giving our squiggly brethren their supplements.
The setup below is not at all obligatory. I just happened to have two identical basins, one punctured, for draining excess liquid so that I can manage the bin's moisture. It also helps me assure they all get enough solids. On the right is the draining food mix. I use my hands, but the smell is persistent. After three soapings I reached out to pet my puppy. He sniffed my hands and withdrew with repulsion on his face, and what he normally likes to dig into can't be discussed in decent company.
for draining the mix
lovely mixed foods
When to feed the worms and how much ?
Overfeeding leads to problems. Do a bin check. Signs of worm activity are a surface covered with little spherical nodules, and that the soft food has disappeared. If they are keeping up, give them a generous helping as in the picture. If not, give them a small handful. Always cover less than half of the surface so that they can breathe and move in a comfy space when they aren't eating.
plenty of nodules
cover half or less
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Please let me know if you have any questions, comments or stories to share on gardening, permaculture, regenerative agriculture, food forests, natural gardening, do nothing gardening, observations about pests and diseases, foraging, dealing with and using weeds constructively, composting and going offgrid.
Check out our selection of ecological designs printed on T-shirts, accessories and decor items. The designs are about soil regeneration, indigenous Cape wild flowers, wild African animals and other fauna, as well as bible quotes and geometric patterns.
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The first in a series of articles on snails, and why getting rid of them may not be the right choice. Learn how they benefit the garden and are of use to you.