Worm breeding at home for beginners attracts with minimal starting capital and the simplicity of the equipment used. The growing technology is simple and does not require special knowledge. Also attractive is the lack of special breeding facilities. In the initial stage, you can do business in an ordinary apartment.
If you decide to do such an unusual thing, you should know that you can sell the worms themselves, vermicompost and worm tea. Biohumus is an excellent fertilizer.
Worm tea is a unique product that will increase productivity by at least two times. It is effectively used for the cultivation of strawberries, indoor plants, for growing vegetables and fruits both in greenhouses and on open ground. In order for a business to develop efficiently, it is necessary to create the most comfortable conditions for the life and reproduction of worms.
How to breed earthworms at home and how to make this lesson grow into a business - this will be discussed later.
What are the benefits of worms?
Earthworms are soil animals that feed on rotting plant debris and animal excreta. They absorb bacteria, algae, simple organisms of nematodes, fungi and their spores. By passing food through its intestines, the worms destroy it and mix it with the ground.
Processing compost heaps, they leave in the soil the most valuable forms of humus with high microbiological activity. In the intestine of the worm, processes occur, as a result of which the decomposition products of organic substances turn into molecules of humic acids. The molecules combine with the mineral components of the soil, forming calcium humates. These substances make the soil structural.
Soil processed by worms contains a wide variety of enzymes, amino acids, vitamins, antibiotics, biologically active substances that disinfect microflora. And the worms in this process play the dominant component. In addition, these animals take an active part in loosening the soil, which makes it water- and breathable.
Earthworms are an indicator of the health and fertility of garden land. If they feel good on your site, then the crop will be good. Their normal density should be no less than five large worms per 1 square meter of dug area. If this amount is less, then the earth needs organic fertilizer.
Decide on a goal.
Before you start a worm, you need to decide on the purpose. Answer a few questions: why do I need worms, and how much do I need them.
There can be several worm breeding goals:
- production of humus and worms only for their needs,
- production of humus for sale,
- breeding the worms themselves for sale,
- sale of worms, coprolites and other worm farm products.
Depending on your purpose and the number of worms, it will be necessary to determine in advance how much space the worms will need, what kind of food you will feed, whether you have enough of your own food for them, or if you need to buy it, where, how they will winter
Preparing a place for worms
There are many ways to keep compost worms: ranging from special worm composters to a warm garden right on the street.
We already wrote a little about the so-called "Walking beds"that apply in GreenPik. This option is possible only indoors and is interesting only for those who are going to produce tons of humus for sale.
Under such beds you need a lot of space.
Our goal is to tell where to start raising worms to an unprepared layman.
Perhaps you have already seen the sale of the so-called "Worm composters".
They are plastic boxes from several compartments with a lid, a tray and a tap for draining the worm. Their cost starts from 7000 rubles. Considering that their volume does not exceed 50-80 liters, it is suitable only for the production of humus for home flowers. Exhaust from such a worm composter will be no more than two buckets of humus per year - this is very small and even for a six-hundred-year-old cottage will not be enough, not to mention an estate of several hectares. The advantages of such a worm composter are that it is immediately ready for use, bought worms, populated, you can put it in the corner right in the kitchen, if the place allows it, throw them tea from the tea, take out the humus once a year. Whether he will ever pay for himself is hard to say.
You can do it yourself from plastic boxes. We started with just such.
These are ordinary food plastic boxes for storing meat, with a volume of approximately 100 liters each. They are standard, easy to stack, and have standard covers and pallets.
Still, minor improvements will be needed: we drilled holes in the bottom of the drawers to drain the water.
Water enters the sump. A tap is made in the plastic tray, which allows you to drain excess water if necessary. Or the box just rises, and the water from the pan is poured into a bucket and used in the garden.
A master class on the manufacture of such a vermicompost we saw on the Internet. Its cost, including the lid and the pallet does not exceed 1000 rubles, if you take everything new, but on Avito often such boxes are sold five times cheaper. Such a box can melt on a warm balcony, in the “waiting room” on the landing. For starters, it is possible to populate 4-5 liters of worms in it and in a year it will be full. The disadvantage is their weight, in the filled state they weigh a lot, but as they say, their burden does not pull.
Another common way to breed compost worms is these are “warm beds” in fact, it’s such a compost pile or compost pit, which is filled with various biomaterial from the garden and into which compost worms are planted. It’s a little expensive option, but it’s good only if you already have a lot of worms, for example, they have greatly bred in the worm composter and need to be relocated somewhere. In a warm ridge, worms live in natural conditions, there are many who want to profit from your worms, from mice, moles and ending with birds. If you purchased a thoroughbred California worms or Russian "miners" in small quantities, do not rush to transfer them to be eaten.
The last way we stop is a way to breed worms in the old bath. A bath is placed next to the garden in a shade, inhabited by worms that are fed with biowaste and weeds from the garden. This is such an improved “warm bed” protected from enemies. The only thing worth keeping in mind here is the number of worms. A bath, as a rule, occupies a volume of 300 liters. In order for the waste to be normally processed by the worms, not mold from moisture and not begin to rot and heat up, it would be nice to plant at least 20 liters of worms (two buckets) in the bath, then gradually do not immediately fill it with compost. The fact is that in composted worms in a confined space a certain structure is built up: the lowest layer is eggs, the middle layer is juveniles, and the upper layer is adult individuals that feed from the surface. Entering a new environment, worms try to settle everything and build their structure first, they even eat a little at first. The more adult worms, the faster they get used to a new place and begin to multiply faster. Accordingly, the faster they will recycle waste. If there are very few worms, they will not be able to process all the waste, they will not have time to collect the necessary amount of humus for wintering, the chances of overwintering in the bath will drop.
Earthworms are invertebrate animals whose body consists of ring-shaped segments with short bristles. The body is smooth, slippery, cylindrical in shape, 15-30 cm long. Leaning on the bristles, the body of the worm moves. The ventral side is flat, the back is convex and dark in color.
Earthworm is a hermaphrodite, but reproduces sexually as a result of mating. The thickening on the front is called the girdle. There are glands that secrete a sticky fluid. A mucus animal wraps eggs during reproduction. Cocoon from mucus protects eggs from dampness and adverse factors. After a while, small worms come out of it. The life expectancy of an earthworm is 3-4 years.
One of the varieties of the earthworm is the California red worm, which is often bred at home. Compared to earthworms, California worms have many advantages in breeding, rearing, feeding. This animal reaches 6-8 cm in length and weighs 1 g. Reproduction occurs at three months of age.
With proper care, each individual produces up to 500-1500 pieces of their own per season. The California worm is distinguished by both high fecundity and longevity. His life expectancy is about 16 years. The only drawback of the California worm is that it is very thermophilic and does not creep deep into the soil when the temperature decreases.
The prospector worm is the result of selection. This species was obtained in 1982 as a result of the crossing of southern and northern dung worms. A distinctive characteristic of the animal is the presence of self-preservation instinct. At low temperatures, it goes to a safe depth. This species reproduces in a much wider temperature range - + 8 ... + 29 ° С.
The prospector’s worm productivity is higher than a conventional earthworm. It is unpretentious, does not get sick and is distinguished by perseverance in the substrate. Unlike California Red, the prospector worm easily switches from one type of food to another. The rate of reproduction and life expectancy is the same as that of California, but this species retains high viability and productivity with a high population density of the substrate.
How to choose a place
If you decide to start breeding worms, then you should know that for this you need a mini-farm or a vermicomposter. The worm can be placed anywhere: on the balcony, in the apartment, in the yard, in the garden, in the garage or in any utility room. It should be a place without noise and vibration. During processing, the construction does not emit any unpleasant odors. The main thing is that the temperature in the room is within acceptable limits.
The smell can emit food. In this case, it must be sprinkled with vermicompost or earth.
Types of Worms
For breeding worms, wooden or plastic boxes made of food-grade plastic 30-40 cm high are often used. Necessarily containers must have ventilation. To do this, use a drill to drill holes in the upper part of the box around the entire perimeter and in the cover over the entire area. Boxes should be mounted on tilted legs. Then, through the hole in the bottom, vermicai can merge. Place the container to collect it under the hole.
Worms also feel good in cardboard boxes. They feed on pieces of cardboard. True, the boxes are soaking, and they often have to be replaced with new ones.
An old refrigerator is also suitable for breeding. It is installed door up. Do not forget to make ventilation holes.
The most convenient, but expensive equipment for breeding worms is a special vermicomposter. It consists of several plastic boxes that are mounted on top of one another. Each of them has side vents and slots from below for water to pass through. The bottom drawer is placed on the legs. Vermicum drain tap is mounted in its bottom. The top drawer is covered with a blanket to maintain moisture and a plastic cover.
Instructions for making a homemade worm
Consider how to build a do-it-yourself vermifer farm, where to start manufacturing and what tools you need.
For a homemade worm, the most suitable are the same plastic crates for food. They are well mounted vertically and go into each other. The box should be solid, without holes, size 60 × 40.
The lower box will be used to collect soil solution, the upper ones to contain the worm. On top you can put three compartments for growing a worm. In the bottom drawer, a series of holes are drilled through the top of the side parts using a drill. But in the corners (up to 10 cm), holes should not be made, since the soil solution will merge through them.
In the second box you need to make the same holes, but around the perimeter. In the bottom of the second box, we make slots parallel to the stiffeners with a grinder (approximately 8 pcs.). With a chisel, we clear the surface of the burrs. We produce 3 boxes of the second type.
At the bottom of the boxes we lay a row of wooden rods the thickness of a finger. They will prevent clogging of the lower holes. Bags of high density spunbond must be sewn. They are laid on top of the rods. It is necessary to cut out plastic nets for relocating the worms to a new box. They are used when 5 cm remains to the full box, and continue to feed the worm. Then, with a full box, the worms will be in the grid, and they can be relocated.
The resettlement procedure is repeated three times until the worm is completely captured. The top cover is made of plywood. With the help of a drill, we make its perforation.
Think Worm Nutrition
If you intend to produce humus for sale, then the following should be considered: the quality of humus depends on the nutrition quality of the worms. If worms feed on waste from the kitchen, humus is worse in structure and properties than if they feed on manure - horse or cow. In addition, manure is already a highly processed organic matter, which is quickly eaten by worms and quickly turns into valuable humus.
Waste from the kitchen or weeds should be strongly crushed before giving to the worms - this will require additional effort and time. If you give unwashed waste from the kitchen to the worms, they don’t start to eat it until the waste rots to the point where the worm can “bite” it.
The industrial production of humus is completely unprofitable, if you do not have a farm nearby where you can buy this dung cheaply, the delivery of manure from afar makes senseless the production of humus for sale, since its cost greatly jumps.
In this article, we examined the points that should be considered before the appearance of worms in your home, next time, we will consider how worms should winter.
The reproduction and life of the worms depends on the quality of the soil. Half of the container must be filled with humus with the addition of shredded cardboard. The soil should have a moisture content of 70-80%. Its easy to check. To do this, take a handful of soil in your hand and squeeze it tightly. If as a result of compression 1-2 drops of water are released, then the soil has the desired moisture content.
Preparing a Vermiferm
Starting a business, you should not immediately buy expensive vermicomposters. Use a wooden box or plastic box for food. It is necessary to make a hole in it for outflow of liquid and ventilation. The room should have a temperature range of 18-25 ° C, 60 W lighting at 20 m, ventilation no more than 0.5 m / s. You should be aware that chlorinated water inhibits worms, so use water containers. Take care to protect the worms from pests. Moles, rats, and other rodents eat them.
You can buy worms for breeding both on the Internet and from local owners of vermiferm. During the purchase of breeding stock, you should pay attention to the appearance of the worm. It should be red, mobile. Breeding stock includes at least 1,500 worms. The calculation must be carried out from such a ratio: for 1 cubic meter of soil for breeding, 1-3 families are needed.
How to populate
2-3 days after the preparation of the soil, it is necessary to deepen it and populate the first inhabitants there. After that, carefully distribute the soil and close the lid. After a couple of days, you need to add food.
In order to determine the necessary acidity of the soil and to check whether the worms take root in the new house, it is necessary to make a test settlement in a small container. Based on the results, it can be determined whether the optimum acidity level has been reached or needs to be corrected.
The optimal level of acidity for breeding worms should be in the range of 6.6 - 7.5 pH.
If there are many dead worms, then the acidity must be changed. It is increased by adding straw, sawdust, plants. To reduce the acidity of the soil, it is necessary to add chalk, limestone, shell.
Within a week after checking in, you need to check how the worms feel in the new house. If the surface of the substrate is clean, and they are mobile, then the relocation was successful.
The worm cycle in nature
Worms live in two closed farm stalls, each weighing 60 kilograms. Therefore, it’s hard even for husband Andrey to transfer such a “worm”. And since the prospectors always go up, then the lower tray, when they work it out and leave it, they take it from them. Освобождают от биогумуса, вновь заполняют обычным перегноем и через некоторое время ставят сверху, на ящик, уже заселенный червями. Для них сигналом к освоению нового пространства становится еда.
Вот такой «круговорот червей в природе» получается. Причем без каких-либо неприятных запахов. In summer, a house with prospectors can be put on the balcony, but only so that the sun's rays do not fall on it.
PERFECT “HOME PETS”
Prospective worms do not get sick, and they have no epidemics.
They cannot become a source of infection and do not degenerate.
They do not leave the feeding place anywhere, and they do not need light for life.
In a word, these are ideal “pets”: slippers do not gnaw, and walking in the mornings and evenings is not necessary. And since they do not need light, the vermicomposter can even be put in the pantry or in the corridor.
You can buy a mini-farm for breeding worms, but it’s easy to craft yourself out of three opaque plastic boxes. In two of them (in the bottom and side walls) using a conventional awl, make several dozen holes for air exchange.
As a result, you get a three-story worm. On the first floor there will be a "non-residential premises" - a container without holes for collecting useful fluid, On the second and third - work trays with holes in which you will populate the worm stock. Any new settlers are suitable: specially bred California worms, domestic prospectors, compost and ordinary worms for fishing.
The main thing - do not forget to close the vermicomposter from above with an opaque cover. Underground residents prefer to work in the dark and at rest. For the winter, you can transport the vermifer farm to the apartment, so that during this time you can prepare several tens of kilograms of the most valuable fertilizers for your favorite summer residence.
What to feed
How to feed worms at home?
Worms are not demanding on food. They feed on dead or rotting plants. It is recommended to give potato peelings, cabbage leaves, banana peel, stale bread, tea or coffee grounds, straw, grass, water from a bowl washed from sour cream or kefir, chicken droppings.
All the food you give the worms must be ground. They cannot process it in solid form. The feed should be kept constant. Worms are better tuned for the food they tasted for the first time in their lives. When changing food, individuals must undergo adaptation for a certain period.
Growing and caring for worms at home includes feeding, maintaining a favorable temperature regime, watering and loosening the substrate.
The first top dressing is carried out several days after settlement. To do this, feed a 3-5 cm thick feed on the fourth part of the surface and distribute it evenly. The next time the food is applied, 5-7 cm thick on the entire surface of the box.
Feeding the worms is added every 1.5 to 2 weeks, as it is eaten, until the box is filled to a height of 50-60 cm. The frequency of feeding depends on the number of worms and the temperature of the content. It is necessary to contain worms at a temperature of + 15 ... + 25 ° С. Worms breed fast enough, so you need to have prepared boxes for transplantation. One family after overwintering increases 10 times.
It should be remembered that worms need moisture. Therefore, the substrate must be regularly watered. Optimum humidity should be 80%. This procedure must be done using a watering can with shallow holes with standing or rain water at a temperature of 24 ° C.
Worms need oxygen, so if the substrate layer is 20 cm or more, it is necessary to loosen it regularly. This procedure is carried out with special forks with round ends. For this, the substrate is punctured without mixing the layers twice a week to the depth of the worms.
As a result of their active activity, the substrate in the box is divided into three zones.
The top layer contains nutrients and organic residues. The middle layer is intended for housing worms. The bottom layer is the most valuable. It collects all soil processing products that are used as vermicompost and worm tea. As the worms work, the bottom layer is constantly growing. The duration of the process of complete processing in one box is 3-4 months. After this, the worms with a part of the old substrate are transplanted into another container, and everything starts all over again.
For fertilizing the soil
To fertilize a plot of 3-4 acres, it is enough to purchase 1.5 - 3 thousand worms. Throughout the year they will produce the required amount of vermicompost. This valuable fertilizer can be sold to neighbors, friends. With the expansion of the vermiferm it can be offered to specialized stores, farms.
Growing worms for fishermen and selling them in bazaars or renting them in specialized stores is also beneficial, as this is part of the vermibusiness. A fisherman rarely spends time digging soil in search of a worm. It’s always easier to buy it. Shops for fishers will take goods from you, because the life span of the worm is high and demand is steady. The main thing is that the packaging contributes to the life of the worms over a period of time. Worm for fish is the most valuable product. Therefore, true professionals often breed worms at home for fishing.
For plant nutrition
The biohumus obtained from the vermiferm can be used for growing indoor flowers, seedlings, vegetables in the greenhouse and in the garden, for planting fruit crops, grapes, and medicinal plants. Biohumus in greenhouses is especially valuable, since it is important to exclude the likelihood of diseases. If you get worms in flower pots, do not worry. Worms cannot cause any harm to plants. Since the use of vermicompost is quite wide, the demand is obvious.
To expand the assortment, you can also offer vermicelli. It is made on vermiferm by slowly passing water through a stack of containers or by prescription. To do this, mix vermicompost with water in a ratio of 1: 10. Saturate it with oxygen for good reproduction of bacteria. This can be done using an aquarium compressor. Insist for 24 hours at room temperature, after which the solution is defended and filtered. Sediment can be used as fertilizer, and the solution can be used for foliar and root dressing.
How to prepare vermiferm products for sale
- The main products of the vermiferm for implementation are:
To prepare products for sale, they must be properly packaged and stored. Worms can be packed in tight plastic bags with ventilation holes. They need to be stored in a cool place to avoid excessive activity of the worms. A sufficient amount of soil must be added to the bag.
Uterine families for sale are well packed in cardboard boxes. The family should consist of cocoons, fry and adults.
Biohumus is a spotting mass of dark color. After extracting the worms, it is collected with a scoop, dried to a moisture content of 40-50%, sieved with a sieve and packaged for storage. Biohumus can be stored at temperatures ranging from -20 to + 30 ° C. So that the fertilizer does not lose its biological activity, it is still not worth freezing it.
Vermicay is packed in plastic bottles before sale. Do not forget to indicate the expiration date of the solution.
From 1 cubic meter of a nursery, you can get up to 10 thousand worms and about 0.5 tons of biohumus per year. When selling 1 worm for 2 rubles, you can get 20 thousand from the sale of some worms, not taking into account profits from vermicompost and vermicompost. Calculating the profitability of the business, we get 150%. As you can see, the revenue is quite decent.
Is it possible to capitalize on a business such as growing strawberries year-round in a greenhouse? Let's try to answer this question in a separate article.
Champignons lend themselves well to cultivation in artificial conditions. The demand for champignons in the food market makes them attractive for entrepreneurship.
Pros and Cons of a Business
Worm breeding is a profitable and rewarding business. This business is associated with minimal risks, so if you are interested, then you should try first in an old refrigerator or wooden box. Having mastered the cultivation of worms at home by video and in practice, having studied all the subtleties and having worked with the sale of products, you decide whether to expand the business. There are practically no shortcomings in the business of worms, as evidenced by the reviews of entrepreneurs. With a serious approach, the business will bring considerable revenues.