Although worm production which is very popular nowadays is usually made to produce fertilizer, you can catch fish with the same worms. Among the worms used for both fishing and fertilizer production, there are two main types namely Red Californian Earthworms and the European Nightcrawlers.
Red Californian Earthworms for Composting
These red worms, also known in Latin as Eisenia Foetida, was first referred to as Red Californian Earthworm for crossbreeding in California. Worms are creatures who have special features and ecological importance. When we look at their roles in nature, the beneficial effects of worms on soil are countless. Among the most important characteristics of red Californian Earthworm, it should be noted that they escape from all the lights except for the very weak light and die soon after being exposed to sunlight.
They are usually fed with bovine fermented manure in large enterprises, but they can also be fed with non-acidic fruit vegetables, such as banana peel, tomato peel, as well as fruit and vegetable wastes. Especially tea pulp and coffee grounds are the things they love most. They consume up to their average weight per day. They can live up to 5 years on average under favorable conditions. 1000 worms produce an average of half a kg of fertilizer per day. Red California worms can survive at temperatures not higher than 40 ° C and not lower than 0 ° C, where the ideal temperature for the production and propagation is 20 ° C.
One of the most important features of red California worms is that they reproduce very quickly. They can double their numbers in an average of three to four months. They spawn, and a worm leaves about 1500 eggs per year, where there are 1 to 21 worms from each egg. Their eggs are like lemon and the size is about the average lentil. Adult worms can reproduce in about three to four months, and then increase their number up to 20 times.
European Nightcrawlers for Composting
The European Nightcrawler (Dendrobaena Veneta), which was originally grown in Europe for angling, likes cooler and more humid environments than Eisenia Foetida (Red California). According to some sources, Dendrobaena Veneta species is used in some experimental studies to produce vermicompost by composting very high wet and high moisture content wastes.
The results observed in a small-scale experimental system for composting using the combination of Eisenia Foetida and Dendrobaena Veneta species were as follows: E. Foetida species preferred to be located higher and in more dry areas of the container; The D. Veneta species preferred to remain in the bed of the lower part of the container and to have a much higher moisture content.
D. Veneta species is not only preferred in angling because it is a large worm that can be attached to a rod, but it is also claimed that some enzymes secreted by the D. Veneta attract fish. Although this claim has not yet been demonstrated, the fishermen in the United States even swear about this claim. In this respect, it is a matter that should be investigated. If such an enzyme is involved, it can be used to solve many different problems.
All You Need to Know About Vermicomposting
For organic vermicomposting, the number of worms is increased in a short time by providing the correct environmental conditions. It is possible that the number of worms after a year will be at least twenty times. This will result in increased production volume, storage of the obtained fertilizers, the need for increasing the number of worms and the creation of new production areas.
Moving to this production model will become a facility in a short time and make it necessary for you to continue your business in a professional sense. It is recommended that people who start the production of worm manure with the aim of building a production plant should start with at least 10 thousand red California Worms. The average cost of this number of worms is around $ 350 – 450. This is the minimum average number of worms in the production plant, so if you intend to grow your production capacity faster, you should start production with a lot more worms. (Note: If you start with 10,000 red California worms, you can reach 1 million worms in the first 1.5 years when the correct environmental conditions are achieved. If you start with 100.000 pieces, this period may be reduced to 6-7 months at the earliest.)
If you have decided to start production with 10 thousand worms at the beginning, you will need a 1-ton capacity IBC water tank to house the worms. You can feed your worms inside this tank. It is enough to add the compost you prepared in advance to the water tank. As you can buy the compost ready, you can also prepare yourself if you are cattle breeding. For 10 thousand worms, you will need 500-600 kg of compost.
If you look at your worms correctly when you start production at this stage, your worm count will increase to 20 thousand after 2.5 – 3 months. If you think there are 10,000 worms per square meter, you should buy another water tank after 3 months. This number of worms cannot be housed in a single water tank, and you will need to grow your production system every 3 months. You can obtain 300 – 400 kg fertilizer with 10 thousand worms in 3 months period. If you rest for 3 months to mature the resulting fertilizer, you may ask for a higher price when selling it. However, if you are willing to dispose of it, it is possible to sell at a more affordable price without waiting. The average selling price of 300 kg of fertilizer will be around $ 50.
By increasing the production capacity, the amount of fertilizer that you will obtain will be increased. In this way, you can obtain an average of $ 350 of fertilizer for a very long period of 1 year and you can have about 200 thousand worms with the reproduction of your worms. If you add worm sales price on demand, the profit will be seen more clearly. If you want to continue production without selling worms, you should start production with pedestals rather than water tanks. You can cover the frames made of iron profile material with 11 mm OSB material. The amount of fertilizer from 200 thousand worms will be around 10 tons in 3-6 months and the amount you will get from sales will increase as well. As you can see, the worm manure production you enter in low cost at the beginning can reach to medium size enterprise within 1 year, you can start to establish your company with legal steps and get a serious gain and you can integrate to your market by expanding your capacity.
How to Grow Worms for Composting
Worm breeding is a very easy and profitable business initiative or hobby. Worms do not require daily care because they show very little development. Worms are also great for fertilizer production. You can also learn to grow worms to sell for personal use or profit. First, decide what kind of worm you want to grow. The most popular types of worms in worm cultivation are the Red Worm (which is a very small and very easily grown worm species) and the European Nightcrawler (which is quite large in size, often used as fish feed).
Once you have decided on the worm type, you can obtain worms from your esteemed places by yourself or by places selling worms around you. For example, Red Worms are usually purchased when they are young or yet in eggs. However, the European Nightcrawlers can be found in grassy areas at dusk or on fertile rainy days. Then, you should prepare a place to grow your worms. If you have prepared the place inside, a large boat with drainage will work. If you’re going to grow your worms outside, you can cut the bottom of the boat and bury it in the ground. The boat or worm store you use will keep worms inside and prevent other creatures from disturbing them.
Ensure that the area where you grow worms is dark and moist. Give them organic ingredients to eat (For example, leaf, animal feces, kitchen waste, grass, etc.). Then, place these organic substances on the top of the vessel you are using, so that the worms slowly crawl to the top of the boat and eat the organic matter there. After feeding, they will descend from the soil and return to their nests.
Feed the worms once a week. Monthly, give worms approximately 0.45 kg of food per 0.28 m3 volume. If you are going to give it weekly, you can simply divide these numbers into four. Every time you feed the worms, moisten them with water, but be careful not to add excess water to create a puddle, as this may cause the worms to choke. Cover the boat where the worms live to keep the moisture in the container. Ensure that the temperature is continuously between 16-20 degrees because this temperature range is the most suitable range for the growth of worms. If the soil you are using is too acidic, you can add lime and wood ash to the soil every two months to keep the pH between 6.8-7.2.
Key Parts of Using Worms for Composting
- The eggshells you put in your box increase the calcium content of the compost you produce. Also, worms like to curl into them. To reach the most productive point, dry the egg shells and place them in the box (eg with a rolling pin). Use raw egg shells that are not cooked.
- You can put the coffee and tea residues and tea bags (do not forget to remove the stapler) directly into the box.
- The smaller the food waste is, the faster the worms eat them (and the more compost production in the box). In some houses, worm-growers use a blender to crush food waste, but the remainder advocates that worm farming should be a work that produces a low-carbon footprint, so there must be little use of electricity.
- If you want to use the water emerges (liquid fertilizer) when watering worms, place a tray under the compost box. The tray encourages the worms to go deeper. In this way, the floor at the bottom of the box becomes highly efficient. A raised box (using bricks or a stand box) on a tray filled with water prevents ants or other creatures trying to enter.
- Note that a worm box is a small-scale ecosystem. Do not try to remove the other creatures that live in the box, they are auxiliary elements. However, remove the centipedes: Centipedes are carnivorous, they eat worms and eggs.
- Crumbled paper envelopes, egg carton boxes, cereal boxes, and pizza boxes are perfect layers (avoid glossy paper). Keep the paper waste in the water for 12 hours before placing it in the box and tighten it well before putting it. If there are plastic layers in the envelopes, be sure to remove them! Worms do not eat plastic, and cleaning the plastic parts of the compost will turn into a nightmare for you.
- The pre-composted cow manure is a great food for worms. But place it at least 8 cm deep. Rabbits, sheep and goat manure do not need to be pre-composted. Thus, placing those into the box will result in really good compost.
- Green food increases the amount of nitrogen in your finished compost. Examples: green grass, sugar beet head, carrot heads, monster fruit leaves, freshly cut clover or alfalfa.
- Brown food increases the amount of carbon and phosphorus in your final compost. Examples: paper, cardboard, sawdust, leaves, bread. If you add fresh grass, make sure that no chemicals are used. Chemicals used in lawns have fatal consequences for the ecosystem in the box.
- A balanced diet means a healthy environment, healthy worms, and a beautiful compost.
- Grains (flour, oatmeal, etc.) that are thoroughly ground and moistened are consumed most quickly, followed by fruits, grass leaves, cardboard, paper boxes (crisp boxes), white paper, cotton products and magazines. The latest consumed material is wood (lasts for a year).
- Calcium carbonate is the solution to many problems. Be sure to use calcium carbonate rather than quicklime (calcium oxide).