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Worms are fantastic for the soil! Believe it or not, worms can turn limp, anemic soil into a nutrient wonderland perfect for gardening. Vermiculture, also known as vermicomposting, is a fascinating way to improve the quality of your home-grown compost with worms. Let’s take a look at how vermiculture works on the homestead.

Vermiculture basics

Vermiculture is a great way to process fruit and vegetable waste into something useful for your homestead.

The benefit to using worms instead of, say, a traditional compost system, is that worms break down the organic matter more quickly. They also churn the soil and help return more nutrients to your soil. Vermiculture benefits your homestead garden by encouraging more robust root systems, disease resistance, and improved water storage capacity during droughts. Vermiculture also introduces beneficial microorganisms into your soil. Say bye-bye to store bought fertilizer and make your own nutrient-dense soil with little cost.

How vermiculture works

Like any homesteading endeavor, vermiculture requires a small startup cost. You’ll need to buy worms, a small amount of quality soil, and ten gallon buckets to hold the compost and worms. You can get larger containers if you have more waste, but it’s best to start small in the beginning. You can always upsize later!

Your worms can process a wide variety of organic matter. Feed them kitchen scraps like lettuce, egg shells, and banana peels. If you have grass clippings, leaves, or mulch, your worms will happily chomp them up. As with any other type of composting, don’t toss meat or dairy into your vermicompost.

In my opinion, the best type of worm for vermiculture is the red worm. They’re surface-dwellers and do marvelously in your compost. The great thing about worms is that they’re a very low-maintenance homestead project. Toss your scraps and a little water in the bucket with them and you’ll have compost very soon! Once a quarter you’ll need to separate the worms from the compost and start a new batch. This keeps your worms happy and healthy, and gives you a constant source of great soil for gardening.

The bottom line

Vermiculture is essentially the harvesting of worm poop. It’s strange to think about, but worms are an essential part of your homestead’s life cycle. With vermiculture, you’ll have hardier plants, improved harvests, and less disease in your garden with vermicompost.

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