by Peter Bogdanov
Commercial Vermiculture looks at the opportunities available for joining a true “growth industry” in vermiculture. The author takes readers through a journey that starts with a look at current efforts in converting tons of organic waste into vermicompost, a high-grade soil amendment. Some landfill diversion sites in California utilize thousands of pounds of redworms to process a variety of organic residues, including yard debris, bio-solids, and the biodegradable fraction of Municipal Solid Waste (MSW). While California’s climate allows nearly year-round vermicomposting to occur in outdoor windrows, in-vessel systems are in use in other parts of the country to control key process variables. The emphasis of large vermicomposting sites is upon processing organic waste and production of worm castings for sale. Due to frequent harvesting, worm populations remain fairly steady. In order to start or even expand a vermicomposting operation, redworms are purchased from vermiculture sites, where the emphasis is upon breeding earthworms. Vermiculture operations (worm farms) may not be able to supply the thousands of pounds needed for a large vermicomposting facility.
Frequently asked questions about earthworms are answered in the second chapter, covering such topics as how much do worms eat and how fast will a worm population multiply. In “Getting Started,” the author offers suggestions for small, medium and large-size operations. Wooden and concrete bins, pits, and heated, insulated bins are covered. Chapter Four, “Monitoring Conditions in Worm Beds,” looks at temperature, moisture, soil pH, and aerobicity. Earthworm feedstocks, including how to find sources of free feedstocks, are discussed in the fifth chapter. Other chapters in the book cover essential information for preparing worms to be shipped to customers.
What is the value of worm castings? A series of quotations from various authorities on the subject of castings is presented in Chapter Nine. In “Earthworms: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow,” the author provides a brief history of the practice of vermiculture, including an inside look at what happened to a million-dollar-a-year worm growing business from the 1970s. The final chapters of this book offer a variety of things that can be done to maximize success and suggest 20 ways to profit in vermiculture in addition to selling worms.
- Learn which type of worm is best for commercial breeding and why.
- Find out how to avoid hurting, damaging, or destroying your investment in worms. Proven methods of monitoring the optimum conditions for your worms.
- Causes of success and failure in the worm business.
- Great ways to get free feedstock and bedding for worms.
- Discover the best ways to harvest your crop.
- What you should never do in raising worms.
- Eliminate worry of pests and predators.
- Learn what you can do to prepare for growing worms before your shipment of worms arrives.
- More than worms: Other ways to profit from your business.
- …And much, much more!
This book was written after researching major landfill diversion sites, touring many different size commercial operations, attendance at composting and vermicomposting conferences and seminars, and research in past and current scientific literature. There is no comparable up-to-date book available in print. It was written with the new grower in mind, but has valuable information for established commercial operations.
“With its focus on how to make money raising earthworms, this new book is a welcome source of up-to-date information on the business of vermiculture. Bogdanov puts vermiculture into a historical context, gives basic information about composting worms, tells how to get started, and describes how to set up commercial beds. He covers pests and predators, harvesting, and packaging and shipping. This book is a must for anyone wanting to go into the worm business.” Mary Appelhof, Worms Eat My Garbage, 2 nd ed., 1997
Commercial Vermiculture: How to Build A Thriving Business in Redworms by Peter Bogdanov