I knew the level of vermicomposting experience would vary greatly among students of the course – and that I could only cover so much in the lessons themselves – so I decided to put together some additional resources (and include some existing resources) for those who want to learn more about various important sub-topics. I’m getting started with a few helpful guides, but the selection will very likely increase over time.
NOTE: Clicking the guide links will open a new tab/window where you will find the PDF (can be downloaded to your computer). You will need to come back to this window in order to navigate to other course pages.
Composting Worms 101
For those who are brand new (or even fairly new) to the topic of vermicomposting there can be some confusion and uncertainty relating to the topic of “worms”.
Many assume that any earthworm can be used for composting and/or that composting worms can just be dumped in the garden in order to effectively enrich the soil.
I put this guide together to help clarify WHAT exactly I mean by the term “composting worms”, HOW they differ from typical soil worms, and WHY I highly recommend using them to help convert waste materials into rich compost.
The Manure Report
Livestock manures are one of the best waste materials to use in a vermicomposting system. They are usually rich in nutrients and a diverse ecosystem of microorganisms and other beneficial composting organisms.
The problem, however, is they are not all created equal (not even close), and tend to scare a lot of people due to all pathogen outbreaks reported in the news media (and the general fear mongering they tend to be so talented at).
My aim with this guide was to demystify the topic of (composting with) manures and hopefully help more people to realize the potential this waste stream offers, when managed/handled/prepared in a responsible manner.
Living Material Guide
This is a freely available guide I put together a number of years ago, exploring a concept that has only become more and more of a pillar of my overall vermicomposting approach.
The origins of the idea can likely be traced back to when I started working with well-aged horse manure. Typical (food waste fed) vermicomposting systems that also received this material just did better. Wastes were processed more quickly, there were fewer pest outbreaks, and just generally the worm population thrived more.
When used during the set-up of a new system, worms always settled in more quickly (without roaming etc). Over the years I’ve come to realize there are a variety of materials (apart from aged manures) that can work well as “living materials”, and this guide provides examples and explains what to look for when choosing your own.