Yes, it finally happened: I visited a worm-farm!
Gebr. Mekelenkamp is one the biggest worm-farm in the Netherlands and I was thrilled to go there with Rowin Snijder (Le Compostier) and his friend PeterJan. Both of them are busy with worm-composting in Amsterdam and organised this interesting visit. Bernard Mekelenkamp gave us a tour and told us everything he knows about worms with lots of enthusiasm!
So, what does a worm-farm look like?
Mekelenkamp designed its own devices for its worm nursery. 30.000 trays of worms and worm-eggs are handled every week. That’s a lot of worms. The worms are put in trays with special food and they lay eggs. In one device the worms get separated from the ground & eggs which means new trays can soon have baby worms. Did you know 4 to 10 baby worms come out of one little worm-egg? And did you know one worm only lay 10 to 15 eggs during its life? The baby worms are then put on a larger piece of ground in which they gather around food. Then it’s easy to take one scoop of worms/food and put them in a tray so they can lay new eggs in. And so it goes on and on, on and on, and forever…
I learned a lot of new things and facts about worms. That they do have (mini)brains and mouth for example. And that they lay more eggs in the winter than in the summer so the eggs can survive cold winters. But as we wrote before: worms work best on room temperature (between 20 and 25 degrees). That’s why they’re ideal for inside worm-composting.
But most of it, I finally understand why it’s so difficult to order our Eisenia Fetida (also called red-worm) worms exclusively! By this I mean without any other type of worms who’re active at night. Well, it’s simple: red worms can’t travel by themselves since they bind themselves in ‘one piece of worm’. By doing this, the worms in the middle don’t have enough air and die. Adding Dendrobaena worms (also called tiger-worm) to them ensure them to survive transportation. Tiger worms are way more active and create air-space in the transportation-bag. It does make sense know. But we still believe getting worms from people who already compost is the best way of starting worm-composting. People who are composting are actually having worm-nurseries and can easily share their worms with other people.
Rain-worms aren’t the right worms for composting but they are a necessity for your garden. And water-worms are also special; it’s kind of a new thing of this worm-farm so not much details about it. Just this: water-worms are minuscule and separate themselves in seven pieces before laying eggs… They’re ideal for aquaponics since they eat fish-manure.
Worms are actually quite ‘cute’ when you learn more about them… Seems strange, but everyone who’s composting will agree on this.