The Monroeville Garden Club met in October at the home of Mrs. Sharon Brewton. Sharon hosted the meeting and Mrs. Jean Singleton co-hosted. Club member Laura Bodiford presented a program on The Basics of Vermiculture.
Vermiculture is the practice of keeping/controlled growing of worms, and it is becoming a big business. Worms spend their whole lives burrowing, eating, digesting, and excreting, and every part of the process is beneficial. When worms burrow they create channels in the soil which makes it porous, and porous soil allows air and water in. While burrowing, worms are eating organic material and digesting it, and excreting nutrient-rich castings back into the soil. Worm castings are completely organic, incredible fertilizers, and they greatly improve soil conditions. In short, little worms do big things!
Worm farms are a thing, and many folks are buying or building their own on a smaller scale. Club member Laura Bodiford brought in her worm bin as an model, and also gave great advice based on her own experiences with different wormeries she had created and used. If you're on the fence about DIY wormeries, check out the book How to Start a Worm Bin: Your Guide to Getting Started by Henry Owen, or the website https://working-worms.com/how-to-make-your-own-worm-farm/. Red wigglers are the best type of worm to use because they are the most resilient and reproduce quickly. Worms need air and food to survive, so worm bins should have holes in them and contain the right type of food. Kitchen scraps are excellent (most fruit and veggie leaves/peels, coffee grounds, breads, grains) but avoid dairy products (egg shells are the exception), meat, citrus, pet waste, and anything oily. Building a worm bed is much like making a real bed in that you just add layers. You might start with damp, shredded newspaper, then dirt or homemade compost, add worms, then food, and finish with another layer of shredded newspaper or pine straw. Keep your worms happy and let them work for you!