The power of worm-produced compost, vermicast, to improve and protect plant health is astounding — worm guts select for microbes that help plants take up nutrients and avoid disease, and the presence of vermicast appears to fend off insect damage as well. It’s incredible and an active field of research.
On the farm we include vermicast in our soil block mix for every seed we start, and we want to produce a lot more so we can add it to the tops of our no-till beds in the spring and fall. At ~4000 sq feet of beds, we will need a lot!
For worms to effectively compost food waste, their primary food which we source from St Louis County, a healthy population is required, so we have started a small worm breeding operation following Prof. Rhonda Sherman’s guidance (NC State vermicompost guru). We have kept worm bins for our own household scraps since 2012 so we had a starter colony, which we are expanding in dedicated single-food screened bins with what we hope is ideal conditions: the bedding a mix of coconut coir and shredded paper with volcanic rock dust mixed in for grit, and aged horse manure as their food. Now we wait!