Vermiculture Language: Definitions of Worm Composting

September 20, 2015 Ed Hubbard

These are words commonly used in describing Vermiculture and Vermicomposting, which is composting with worms:

Aerobic Conditions – composting and vermiculture systems require free oxygen to be available.
Anaerobic Conditions – processing without oxygen.
Capsule (Cocoon) – the oval shaped case containing worm eggs.
Carrying Capacity – the total biomass in kilograms of worms that a specified surface areain m2can contain under managed steady state environmental conditions. Themaximum carrying capacity of biomass will vary widely depending upon:environmental conditions; individual worm species or mix of species; number, ageand maturity of the population.
Castings– the exretia of worms.
Compost – material resulting from the controlled microbial transformation of organic materials under aerobic and thermophilic conditions.
Compost Worm – selected species of earthworms appropriate for employment in organic waste management systems, and commonly cultivated commercially for such purposes.
Feedstock – raw or pre-processed mixture of organic wastes in a form suitable for vermiculture application.
Liquefied Castings – the liquid form of vermicast produced by steeping solid vermicast in aerated and circulated water, allowing to settle and sieving through fine gauze to remove suspended solids.
Liquid Castings – liquids produced by the decomposition of organic materials combined with excess worm bed moisture , not fully worked through a worms digestive tract.
Loading Rate – refers to the gross weight (kg) of a feedstock material that can be applied to a vermicomposting unit or system (equivalence in mm thickness per square metre surface feeding area) whilst maintaining aerobic conditions and moderate temperature range (15 – 30°C). Loading rate will be dependent upon: feedstock variables, compost worm spp. Employed, and to a lesser degree ambient temperatures.
Manure – any organic product composed mainly of animal excreta.
Mixing – blending of nitrogen rich compostable organic wastes with carbonaceous bulking agents and/or additives as required to produce feedstock into a form suitable for vermiculture application.
Pre-processing – size reduction of compostable organic wastes (by chopping, macerating, grinding, blending or other like process) and mixing (see above) to produce feedstock suitable for vermiculture application.
Pre-treatment – the primary digestion of raw or pre-processed organic wastes prior to vermiculture application.
Processing Capacity –the maximum gross weight of a feedstock (kg) per unit area (square metres) that can be applied per unit time under managed environmental conditions. Processing capacity will vary with: environmental conditions; loading rate (including feedstock variables); and, carrying capacity (including compost worm spp. employed).
Soil Conditioner – any composted or non-composted material of organic origin, which is produced or distributed for adding to soils. This term also includes "soil amendment","soil additive", "soil improver" and similar terms, but excludes polymers which do not biodegrade such as plastics, rubber, and coatings.
Vermicast – the excreta of worms in its pure form, produced by the action of microbiological life within the digestive tract of the worm.
Vermicompost – mixture of vermicast and unprocessed organic matter, it may also contain worm capsules and small worms
Vermimeal- Protein Feed for animals and fish made up of earthworms, generally dried and powdered.
Vermitea- A liquid fertilizer and insect repellent, brewed from vermicastings and compost, through aeration.

Some definitions provided by Recycled Organics Unit Literature Review of Worms in Waste Management – Volume 1


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