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Vermicomposting: Looking for direction or help

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Qworak
Trenton, NJ

December 14, 2011
12:00 PM

Post #8929479

I am new to this idea and have been reading up on it, but I still have questions that have gone unanswered.

Where I work, we produce a certain amount of food waste. Currently, we pay a company to take it away and it ends up being converted into fertilizer and sold. I would like to be able to do this on our own. Thatís where vermicomposting comes in.

A company in our area supposedly already had the idea to do this, but they didnít go through with it, because they couldnít guarantee the quality of the fertilizer. They couldnít figure out what made the fertilizer of a better quality. The food waste that we set aside is fruits/vegetables, meat/poultry/seafood (bones and shells), bakery items/ingredients, coffee grounds/filters/tea bags, ice cream/yogurt/cottage cheese, eggs, paper products, and cut flowers only.

So, these are some of the questions I am left with.

Is it really that hard to produce quality fertilizer with this method such that it could be sold?
Are any of the items listed above not desirable for this process?
How much food waste creates how much fertilizer?
Is it as simple as taking the worm castings and packaging them?
How can I find someone that knows enough about this that I can consult on the project?

Sorry if this is too in depth or complicated, but Iím not sure how else to find out the answers to these questions and I feel as though this would be very beneficial to our organization if we could make it happen.
tropicalnut777
Provo, UT
(Zone 5a)

December 14, 2011
6:55 PM

Post #8929964

good for u qwork..
i take it you wish to make worm castings.. from the waste?
i dont think worm castings can really be considered as a "fertilizer" ..my thinking
and reading is that worm castings are a good soil amendment..not a fertilizer..
im going on assumption of your wanting to make fertilizer discussion
as for foods for worms..you need to stay clear of meats,milk,cheeses,breads..
seafood..i think the "flesh" from the seafood would just rot..i ocassionally buy
a big bag of shrimp meal (shells) and add to my lawn..
there are some hard core vermiculturalists..that have made serious,big volume harvesting
machines for separating castings..just google that..
im still a real novice on all this..only couple yrs now.. but i get around .. 100 gal of castings
a yr.. i use all my hard working worms make.. :)
good luck to ya !!!!
Qworak
Trenton, NJ

December 16, 2011
6:36 AM

Post #8931804

I see, thanks.

I'm looking into it more and I think, to utilize all of our waste, we would need to get a food dehydrator.
mraider3
Helena, MT

December 16, 2011
9:02 AM

Post #8931971

The concept of separating worm castings from vermiculture media has always alluded me. We seem to go to a lot of trouble to extract 'pure' castings from our well aged and composted medias only to apply it back into some other material(s) as a form of fertilizer. I have used 'spent vermiculture media' for years as a germination media and mixed with other materials as a potting media. So my question is why go to all the trouble to extract pure worm castings only to dilute them again? It just doesn't make any sense to me to go to that much trouble.

As for making fertilizer with your waste materials, Trobicalnut777 is correct. If possible extract the meat scraps, bones and dairy wastes from the formula, and depending on volume you would probably want to set this up outdoors as some type of a 'windrow', where you could rotate the row over and back to expedite the process. You would need a tarp over the top of your windrow and have easy access with a hose to keep the pile sufficiently hydrated. If you plan to bag or commercially sell your end product you will probably end up working for very little profit. Find a potential buyer who would take this material off you hands in bulk form.

I don't get the benefit or purpose of a food dehydrator.
artgirl
Phoenix, AZ

July 8, 2012
4:06 PM

Post #9198113

Do you think that the volume of your waste will be too great and you want to hold it by dehydrating it for future worm food?
pbyrley
Port St Lucie (+ Wk , FL
(Zone 9b)

July 16, 2012
6:26 AM

Post #9206914

artgirl - as a suggestion, always listen to (i.e., read) what mraider has written. He must be right because I always agree with him :o)

Paul
jimlu
Wiseman, AR

July 16, 2012
7:28 PM

Post #9208048

A helpful source of information for me is...vermicomposters.ning.com/...but I just got interested when I killed off all the earthworms in my square foot garden...enjoy

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