Worm composting or vermicomposting can sometimes test your patience. Realistically it can take several months before you can see your first batch of Black gold. However, it does have to be that long; several ways allow you to significantly speed up this process and deliver the final product sooner that you expect
Let’s see How to speed up worm composting
1. Increase earthworm biomass
Worms can eat scraps, half their weight every day. That means one pound of worms can finish half pounds of waste in a day. The more the number of worms, the faster they can do the work. A good way to increase the speed of vermicomposting is to increase the number of worms in your bin. You can accomplish this in two ways.
- Add More worms: You can buy the additional worms at a store or check out craigslist or Facebook groups for cheaper alternatives. There are several people out there who are willing to share their worm surplus for free, its a great idea to have a local vermicomposting group where you can collaborate with other like-minded people.
- Improve worm reproduction rate – if you manage to make your worms happy, they will increase. Worms have the potential to double their numbers in two months. To reproduce faster, they need ideal environmental conditions (we will discuss them) and an ample supply of food.
2. Get more juvenile worms.
After the worms emerge from their cocoons, they enter their juvenile stage. In this stage. They have a thread like thickness and are about half an inch in length. Juvenile worms are voracious eating machines and eat like crazy. Having a good population of juvenile worms can also give your vermicomposting a significant boost. When you add additional worms into your bin, try to get a higher percentage of juvenile ones.
3. Switch Worm Species
Not all worms are equal when it comes to vermicomposting. Some species are slower in growth, while others grow fairly fast. Eudrilus Eugenie or nightcrawlers have a significantly lower reproduction rate compared to the Eisenia fetida or reg wigglers. Under similar circumstances, you can see seven times more red wigglers then nightcrawlers. When getting worms for your composting bin, you should opt for red wigglers for faster compost.
4. Keep the worm beds in the dark.
Worms are quite sensitive to light. If you put them in bright light, they will immediately move away from it. They might also release the coelomic fluid that has a distinctly bad smell. Too much light creates stress among the worms, and they won’t be able to reproduce well. It is best to place the worm bin in a shaded area and provide additional bedding to ensure further that worms are not exposed to the light.
5. Maintain proper temperature
Temperature is an important factor when we talk about vermicomposting. Most serious vermicomposters regularly monitor the temperatures of their bins. Too high or too low temperature can easily kill the worms and bring the process to a halt. Most studies on worm composting Agee that the ideal temperature for worms is 15–25 °C (59-77 °F). Anything below 10 °C (50 °F) or above 30 °C (86 °F) is dangerous for them. If you live in a cold place, you need to put your bin close to the sun(cover it to prevent light from entering). On the other hand, if you live in a hot climate, it’s best to place the bin in the shade.
Many people put their worm composting bins indoors or in their kitchen to avoid temperature fluctuations. It has been observed that worms thrive at room temperature.
6. Maintain Proper pH
pH is a measure of acidity or basicity. A pH of 7 is considered the best for worms, and they show maximum growth in this pH. However, they can survive between 4.2 and 8. If your composting pile’s pH is too low(high acidity), you can add eggshells or lime to balance it out.
7. Maintain Proper Moisture
Worms need moisture to breathe. Their skins need to be wet for gaseous exchange. If you let then dry out, they will die. The recommended levels of moisture in a worm bin are around 80%. The worms function best in this level of moisture. Even though you can use gauges to measure the moisture levels, most of us don’t have access to these. Don’t worry, there is a simple way to do it. Just pick up a handful of the pile and squeeze it. If there are more than one or two drops of water, the moisture levels are too high, and if it feels crumbly and breaks easily. The moisture is too low. If it is too high, add some more bedding to the pile, and if it is too dry, spray some water on the top of the pile.
8. Feed Smaller Pieces To Worms
Worms don’t have teeth, so they can’t chew pieces of food that are too big. They have to rely on microbes to soften the huge chunks for them. This can take a long time and slow down the process of composting. It would be best if you chop food into smaller bits before you add them to the pile. This enables the worms to have easy access to the food to eat more and reproduce more.
9. Maintain Proper Air Supply
A worm bin short of air supply can easily choke the worms and drastically reduce their numbers, and slow down composting. To ensure the proper supply of air:
- Make sure that your worm bin has an appropriate number of ventilation holes.
- Perform regular checks to ensure that the worm castings do not jam holes.
- Add plenty of bedding also makes space for air to circulate inside your bin.
10. Appropriate Green to Brown Ratio
The food you add to your composting pile can be classified into greens and browns. Greens are your fresh foods like fruits and vegetables, and browns are your drier foods like sawdust, cardboard and paper. Greens provide nitrogen which heats the pile, and browns provide food for the worms. It is recommended to maintain a green to the brown ratio of 3:1. This ensures that worms have the required nutrients in the right quantity.
The secret to speeding up the vermicomposting is to make worms happy. Happy worms produce more worms, and more worms eat more. Making worms happy is simple, right food and right conditions