Worms for Making Your Own Compost

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Much thanks to The Soulsby Farm for offering a free tutorial about how to start a worm farm! I was wondering how I would afford enough fertilizer to keep a year-round, complete, indoor vegetable garden running. In the last day, I’ve spent a great deal of time researching worm tea and discovered that youtube is a wonderful resource for how-to information about making it .

Worm tea is a concoction made from worm castings. These are obtained via a type of composing where worms digest your food/paper scraps and essentially convert them into fertilizer/amazing soil. You can order worms online or obtain them from a local dealer. Unfortunately, those near me want to rip my arm and possibly a leg off with their prices. My next project: grow worms and sell them for prices that put these suckers out of business.

I ordered mine from this site and I decided to buy the European Nightcrawler as opposed to the more common Redworm. The reason for this is that my family enjoys fishing and the red worm is a bit too small and fragile to conveniently double as our bate. European Nightcrawlers are the larger cousin of the red worm and thus perform just as well for composting purposes while also being the most hardy and conveniently sized bait worm. In addition, they can be sold to local pet owners as live food.

After reading and watching a lot of good advice about worm composting, I became extremely curious about the validity of their claims about worm tea being the best fertilizer available. I am not the touchy-feely-tree-hugging-earth-lover type who immediately becomes enamored with every “natural” idea and believes everything anyone says about it. I want to test these claims. Hopefully, they are true, as that would save me a ton of money.

So, upon establishing a good colony of “fertilizer makers”, I’m going to start an experiment comparing the growth rates of plants provided just water (which will be left out overnight to let the flourine evaporate), plants provided a common store-bought fertilizer, and those given compost tea + the scraps from the bottom of the tea jug. I will start the same type of seeds from the same supplier in the same container types and measure their weekly growth  (both height, width, and largest leaf size). All of the plants will be rotated daily so differing amounts of light are not a factor.

I will compare the growth rates of 50 plants of each group (150 total) from planting to maturity, calculate the means (averages) for each group, and run a t-test to see if there are any statistically significant differences between the groups. This way, when I tell you that worm tea is the best, I will have actual data to back it up!

Update: I thought this video was pretty amazing!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uEwB23uhBGY&feature=related

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