It may appear much easier just to throw out organic waste for the Municipality to take care of and then to go down to the local nursery and buy a bag of inorganic fertiliser. But this presents as many problems as vermicomposting appears to give.
For starters, municipalities around the world are now refusing to accept organic or ‘wet’ waste (they are running out of places to dispose of it) or where they do collect it, they charge a small fortune for the privilege. It has been mentioned that Municipalities in England, for example, are threatening to pick-up waste ONCE per month only. That is a long time to keep stinking, decaying vegetables in the house! Much better to feed a wormery every second day with the slightly decayed vegetables! Agreed?
When one buys inorganic fertiliser at the local nursery, a five-kilogram bag, for example, may contain only about 50% of actual nutrients – the rest of the bag is packaging! Five kilogrammes of vermicompost contains 100% of nutrients and soil amendments. The same five kilogrammes also contains millions of microorganisms that, over time, will vastly improve the quality of the soil – inorganic fertilisers have no microorganisms and, in fact, will kill any microorganisms that do find themselves in the soil. Another factor to keep in mind is that inorganic fertilisers are based on oil – and oil supplies are diminishing and getting more expensive. Vermicomposting saves money!
All too often one hears that individuals are making ‘compost’ by throwing wet waste on a regular basis onto a heap in the garden and hoping for the best. This is NOT compost making! In fact, if the end result has not been through the normal temperature cycles, it could be detrimental to plant growth. Making good-quality compost is a long, time-consuming process that requires a large degree of expertise – much better to let the humble worm do the work for one.
Starting a wormery is a commitment. Just as having a puppy, an aquarium or a parrot in the house, worms do require some attention. Many people who start a wormery give up after a month or two as the amount of wet waste being consumed and turned into compost is very little – but, believe me, the worms are eating a fast as they can!
If YOU are convinced of the benefits of vermicomposting, the following worm farmers will be only too pleased to help you get started.
082 563 1476
Noordhoek Farm Village
021 789 2922
Earthworm Interest Group of South Africa
011 792 3478
For analysis of solid compost:
Department of Agriculture
Elsenberg Agricultural Services
021 808 5111