Am I a Vermiculturist now?

Hey kiddies, do you like worms? Do you enjoy getting your hands dirty? Is working in the dark your thing?

worm farming paley100 gentleman vermiculturist breeding more mixing bedding

Have I got a job for you!

Vermiculturist

A vermiculturist is someone who is a worm farmer (who breeds worms), and uses the worms to convert waste products such as uneaten food, grass clippings, and spoiled fruit and vegetables into healthy, nutrient-rich soil and organic fertilizer. As consumers are buying more and more organic produce, farmers are needing more and more organic fertilizers.

As a vermiculturist, like yours truly, you’ll be making the world’s most amazing fertilizer from, what’s really, worm poop.
It’s really that simple.
You’ll grow and feed worms using compostable materials that you are already throwing away. Kitchen scraps, garden trimmings all become “black gold” that will make your garden explode into life.

Some of the benefits of vermicompost (worm castings) are:
– enriches soil with micro-organisms
– castings are 10-20 times higher in microbial activity than organic matter ingested
– worm castings contain worm mucus which helps to hold moisture better than plain soil
– improves aeration of soil
– encourages root growth
– encourages plant growth and structure
– helps germination and crop yield
– attracts earthworms that are deep-burrowing
– reduces waste flow to landfills
– production reduces greenhouse gas emissions
– vermicomposting is beneficial to the environment, and a low cost investment

Vermiculturists start off as hobbyists and some build it up into a side business, selling worms to bait shops and fertilizer to nurseries for example, before they create a factory and start doing it full-time

Vermiculturists have schooling (or at least an interest or passion for) biology, chemistry, and environmental science. Strangely enough, they’re also a little interested and enjoy organic gardening or farming. You will also need to care for hundreds of worms. These are living creatures and need feeding, homing, and care 24 hours a day, seven days a week (although that doesn’t mean they need a full day’s attention – they mainly just need the right environment to do their work in).

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At this point, if you have a worm farm at home and you’re using it to dispose of garden waste and kitchen scraps and then taking the worm castings (a fancy name for worm poop) to help your garden, congratulations! You’re a Vermiculturist!

With the growth of organic food and gardening, the need for Vermiculturists is only likely to grow in the coming years. You could even look at branching out into organic gardening fuelled by the product of your worm farms.

texas worm ranch vermiculture worm farm
Photo credit Texas Worm Ranch

As you grow a larger and larger worm farm you’ll find usage for your products in landscaping, farming, or for sale, and the vermiculturist on this farm may also produce worms to sell for small-scale vermicomposting businesses, or for fishing bait. Worm farming in large bins is fine, the worms, if fed plentifully, have no desire to escape.

Another method for larger scale worm farming is the flow through system. This system is very well suited for indoor facilities, and/or for colder climates. Here, the earthworms are given an inch of waste/organic matter across the top and since they are surface dwellers, they constantly move towards the food source. By pulling a breaker bar across the mesh screen from below, an inch of castings are harvested, thereby eliminating the need to separate the worms from the castings. Some great and easy to follow instructions can be found online.

brian the worm man youtube vermiculture channel
Photo credit Brian The Worm Man

What are you waiting for, Vermiculturist? Get farming!

Common terms:

  • Vermiculturist – worm farmer
  • Vermicompost – the product of composting using earthworms
  • Vermicomposting – the process of producing vermicompost
  • Vermicast – worm castings (or worm manure); the end product by an earthworm. These casts contain five times the nitrogen of ordinary soil, seven times the phosphorus, eleven times the potash, two times the calcium and magnesium, and eight times the actinomycetes (useful bacteria).
  • Windrows – rows of bedding material and organic matter that the earthworms live in (these windrows act like a bin without a physical barrier). Typically, windrows are approximately four to ten feet wide, by two to three feet high, with varying lengths.
  • Red Wiggler – one of the earthworm species most often used for composting
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Adam

Chief Worm Wrangler at The Gentleman Vermiculturist
Adam Jones is the Gentleman Vermiculturist. He lives in the suburb of Dingley Village with his wife, two kids, dog, cat and, according to his wife, an alarming number of worms. He uses email and can be contacted at adam@thegentlemanvermiculturist.com.au.
The Gentleman Vermiculturist can be found on Facebook and Instagram as well as other social media. He talks incessantly about worms.
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