What is vermiculture?
Vermiculture is the practice of raising worms for any use (a 'culture' of worms). Often when gardeners talk about vermiculture they are actually referring to vermicomposting. Vermicomposting is the use of worms to turn food scraps and other decomposable material into compost.
What's the difference between vermicomposting and normal composting?
Starting a compost pile in your backyard requires you to throw your food scraps and yard waste into a pile and wait for them to decompose. Any worms that are in your compost pile have found their way there by themselves.
In a vermicompost set up, worms are central to the operation. Vermicomposting bins house worms that can turn food waste and some other materials into compost relatively quickly.
Ok, I'd like to set up my own vermicompost!
You can set up a vermicompost in a bin of any size, so long as it can hold all of you worms and food waste. This can be a plastic storage container or something built with wood.
Once you have your bin selected you need to make a habitat that is hospitable to worms. Damp newspaper and/or small pieces of cardboard provide worms with a nice bedding. Add a scoop of finished compost or garden soil to give the worms grit for grinding their food and start the microbiome of the environment. Now you're ready to add worms! Worms can be purchased online or from a friendly neighborhood vermicompost owner.
So is it just earthworms in the vermicompost bin?
No! There are many different types of worms and each species has something that it's best at. The kind of worms typically used in vermicompost bins are red wigglers and redworms. These kinds of worms stay closer to the surface than your typical earth worm and prefer this kind of environment.
What do I do now that I have such nice compost?
Add it to your garden or your houseplants, they'll love it!