Worms? Black Soldier Flies? >Ewww!!!< Wait! – Learn to Love Them!
Anything related to bugs and worms is not going to get much press.. so I’m going to do my fair bit to explain why they are a necessity if you ever wish to have a decent garden.
Sure there are microbes, fungus and molds that can help to bring about the composting process.. but on a sheer scale of HOW MUCH composting can be done, you really can’t beat the Black Soldier Fly and Worms for their efficiency. Typically you can expect a mature worm/soldier fly composting setup to have a 1 to 1 ratio effectiveness… i.e. 1 pound of worms/flies can process 1 pound a day of organic material into compost. THAT my friends is a lot of compost work!
There are added benefits to using such setups as well. The natural microbes that are found in worm castings you WILL NOT find in processed fertilizers due to the heating/cooling treatments they use in their manufacturing. These microbes are beneficial to plants in that they continue the breakdown of rotting organic matter even after you’ve applied them to your garden, they are not harmed in the digestion of the worms. If anything they are given a layer of protection thanks to the mucus produced by the worms in their castings. Other studies suggest that these microbes also help in fending off disease that would otherwise naturally attack the plants. Sort of like adding white blood cells to your garden mix. Worms are also beneficial in aquaponic gardens by adding another level of processing to the nitrite/nitrate production of your system. They will readily eat the fish waste and produce beneficial worm castings that will help your plants thrive!
Black Soldier Fly’s have an additional benefit as well. Besides just being composting machines, they also produce larvae via reproduction. These larvae can be harvested as a high protein source food for fish, chickens or any other animal that could use additional proteins in their diets. BSF’s are also naturally occurring in most regions. You can get them established using some good old elbow grease and building your own BSF composting/harvester or ordering one online. One place I’ve found that provides a great deal of info is the Black Soldier Fly Blog. Tons of great info on how to setup/build your own or purchase a ready made setup.
Here’s a great example of the effective composting capabilities of Black Soldier Fly’s..
I bring these ideas to your attention simply because some people might understand the idea of composting, but not realize that there are ways to BOOST the composting process by adding in some of nature’s super-troopers into the mix!