Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Earthworms - Converting Organic Waste Into Fertilizer





Earthworms - Converting Organic Waste Into Fertilizer

Hey, World.  Here's an idea - instead of wasting Zillions of dollars on burning, dumping and otherwise wasting organic waste, feed it to earthworms instead.  You'd save money and you'd create a rich, organic fertilizer (castings) to boot.

Doesn't that make more cents..err..sense?  I mean, really.  Spending money on one hand to haul away and destroy the mountains of organic material produced yearly, while on the other hand spending money to convert precious and ever-vanishing oil into fertilizer...it's crazy.

Facts About Worm Castings

Did you know that:
  • An earthworm eats and excretes it's weight in organic material each day?
  • This excretion, called castings, is richer in nitrogen, phosphate, calcium, and magnesium than the richest topsoil?
  • This rich fertilizer is water soluble - meaning it's immediately available to the plant without any danger of burning whatsoever?

Worm Farming By-Product

What does this all mean to you, an earthworm farmer?  Use this organic conversion capability of earthworms to grow your business.  The value of worm castings as a fertilizer is becoming widely known and accepted, creating an ever growing market and demand for vermi-compost and worm castings fertilizer. Some worm farmers are growing worms just for the castings.

So long as the world is producing mountains of organic waste, there's plenty of worm food for your worms to convert into valuable fertilizer to sell.  Oh yeah, and you'll have plenty of worms to take to market as well.

Worm Farm Resources:






Find out more about worm farming for fertilizer in my Worm Farm Manual.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Worm Breeding and Production






I'm often ask "How long will it take for me to have enough worms to start selling?"  The following facts about earthworm reproduction tells you a lot about the time it takes to start making a profit with your worm farm.
  • Earthworms reach breeding maturity in 60-90 days.
  • These mature worms produce and egg capsule every 7-10 days.
  • Each egg capsule contains 2-20 eggs, with an average of 4.
  • These egg capsules hatch in 14-21 days
If food moisture and temperature conditions are optimum, we can calculate the conservative possibility for one mature breeder earthworm producing  1,200  to 1,500 offspring in the span of one year.   Astoundingly, it is possible for 2,000 mature breeding earthworms to produce more than one million earthworms in a year and one billion earthworms in 2 years.

Consider this scenario:  Take those one million earthworms to bait size (250-300 worms per pound), they would make around 3333-4000 pounds of worms.  If these worms are European nightcrawlers (the very best bait worm), you could market them at retail for around $25.00 per pound.  That would make $80,000 - $100,000 worth of worms from 2000 breeder worms.
Of course, you wouldn't want to sell off all your worms and you would encounter some losses along the way.  But you can see the possibilities from the amazing reproduction capabilities of the lowly earthworm.

When planning your future sales, take these things into consideration:  The longer you wait before starting to sell off your worms, the larger your breeding stock, the more worm production down the line.  Don't sell off too many worms at any one time, thereby depleting your worm population to the point limiting future  worm production.

Worm Farm Resources:






Find out more about worm farm planning in my Worm Farm Manual.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Crawing Worms





It's time to post some recent questions or problems I've been contacted about.

My Worms Are Crawling!

One of my customers in South Carolina called the other day.  His worms were crawling out and he'd lost most of the worms.  After quizzing him, I determined that his worms were crawling because his bedding had "heated up".   Read on to learn the reasons why worm bedding heats up and how to avoid it. 

Fix It Immediately!

First, my advice to South Carolina was:

  • Remove any remaining worms and
  • Hold them in a container with moistened peat moss and/or shredded paper until he can
  • Mix up new bedding to replace the hot stuff, then
  • Return the worms to the new bedding

Hot Worm Bedding?

Heat will kill your worms, whether it's from the weather or from the bedding becoming "hot".  Bedding heats up  from excess microbial activity occurring in "fresh" organic content or grain.

Think of a compost heap.  It needs to "heat up" in order for the organic materials to break down and make rich compost for your garden.  To do this, you layer the pile with  green and brown materials.  Fresh horse manure or fresh grass clippings are your green materials and straw or dead leaves serve as the brown materials.  Not enough green and too much brown  and your pile will not heat up.

Reverse the situation with your worm bedding.  If you use horse manure, cow manure, or grass clippings that have not "aged" enough, your bed will heat up once you add moisture to it.  The only way to ensure your worm bedding materials have "aged" sufficiently (i.e., the microbial activity has reached it's peak and died down) is to pile up the bedding, moisten it and wait.

It's simple:  If the bedding is not aged enough, it will heat up; if it's aged, it won't.  Always wait before adding your worms to freshly mixed bedding to avoid cooking your worms or finding them all over your floor, dead and dying.

Worm Farm Resources:

Find out more about worm farming in my Worm Farm Manual.