Earthworms are segmented invertebrates that inhabit soils and organic wastes. They are hermaphrodites and usually reproduce by mating, each partner fertilizing the other. After mating they retract their bodies through the “saddle” or clitellum and pass it over their heads. Each cocoon contains one or more eggs that can survive adverse conditions, hatching when environmental conditions are favorable. Some species are able to produce viable cocoons parthenogenetically without mating. Earthworms take from one to eight months to become sexually mature and continue to reproduce at regular intervals through their lives which can be up to several years. They require moisture and aerobic conditions for survival and reproduction.
Vermiculture is the management of worms.
It defines the thrilling potential for waste reduction, fertilizer production, as well as an assortment of possible uses for the future. Vermiculture enhances the growth of plants that provide food along with producing prosperous and financially rewarding fertilizer. The earthworm is one of nature's pinnacle "soil scientists." Earthworms are liberated, cost effective farm relief. The worms are accountable for a variety of elements including turning common soil into superior quality. Worms facilitate the amount of air and water that travels into soil. They break down organic matter and when they eat, they leave behind castings that are an exceptionally valuable type of fertilizer. The art of composting has been part of our global culture since ancient times. The basic principles are quite simple, and adhering to them will result in an efficient and successful outcome. Studies have shown that home composting can divert an average of 700 lbs. of material per household per year from the waste stream. Municipal composting carries a greater environmental cost, but not nearly as high as if leaf and yard waste are disposed of by conventional means. The art of composting has been part of our global culture since ancient times. The basic principles are quite simple, and adhering to them will result in an efficient and successful outcome. Studies have shown that home composting can divert an average of 700 lbs. of material per household per year from the waste stream. Municipal composting carries a greater environmental cost, but not nearly as high as if leaf and yard waste are disposed of by conventional means. The worms will gradually reproduce or die according to the amount of food they receive. A sudden addition of a large amount of food waste may attract fruit flies, so increases should be made gradually.
Today there are several different reasons why composting remains an invaluable practice. Yard and food wastes make up approximately 30% of the waste stream in the United States. Composting most of these waste streams would reduce the amount of Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) requiring disposal by almost one fourth, while at the same time provide a nutrient-rich soil amendment. Compost added to gardens improves soil structure, texture, aeration, and water retention.
When mixed with compost, clay soils are lightened, and sandy soils retain water better. Mixing compost with soil also contributes to erosion control, soil fertility, proper pH balance, and healthy root development in plants.
The standard means of disposal for most yard and food waste include landfilling and incineration. These practices are not as environmentally or economically sound as composting. Yard waste which is landfilled breaks down very slowly due to the lack of oxygen. As it decomposes, it produces methane gas and acidic leachate, which are both environmental problems
Vermicomposting is the easiest way to recycle food wastes and is ideal for people who do not have an outdoor compost pile. Composting with worms avoids the needless disposal of vegetative food wastes and enjoy the benefits of a high quality compost. It is done with "redworms" (Eisenia fetida) who...