Vermicompost is essentially made up out of the droppings of earthworms feeding on organic waste. This form of compost doesn’t only provide the necessary macro- and micro-nutrients which plants need for their development, but also increases the exchange capacity (EC) and has water retaining properties. Just as with compost, vermicompost can be produced at home. Moreover, vermicomposting takes less space in comparison with composting and is more efficient.
Every Wednesday and Friday around 3pm the organic waste of 3 bars at the Faculty is picked up. The organic waste is processed in various ways.
At the moment only the foam boxes are used. Empty boxes are filled up with the organic waste and stay filled until the temperature reaches below 25 degrees. The organic material is then moved to the blue crates of the mini-trench. In the mini-trench worms are added to create the actual vermicompost.
Chicken tractor composter
Another way of processing the organic waste is the so called chicken tractor composter. At the PermaLab a chicken tractor is moved around over 16 plots of land (each 4x2 meter). The chickens feed on potential bugs and weeds and their droppings are fertilizing the earth. Every few months the chicken tractor is moved to the bordering piece of land and the previous piece of land is used for crops or other vegetation. This is a continuous cycle which is expanded with an additional step. On the plot that will be the next in the cycle for the chicken tractor a wooden border of around 20-30 cm in height is surrounding the area (2x4 meter). Within these borders organic waste can be placed. It is laid down in patches taking up the full height which then are covered with dry material such as leaves and small sticks. Composting will start right away and when the compost reaches the right conditions worms from the earth below will move in. The Worms will move through the partially composted organic waste spreading the nutrients while the wooden borders help decreasing surface exposed to sun and heat. After 1-2 months the organic waste will hopefully be fully (vermi)composted, the borders will be removed, and the chicken tractor will be placed on the enriched earth whilst the chickens will feed on any excess worms, bugs and waste.