Want to know everything about What is Vermicompost? Check out our detailed guide on Vermicomposting, its uses, and how to prepare it easily for your garden!
Using vermicompost in the garden is the most organic way to boost the growth of plants. Let’s have a look at What is Vermicompost and its significance.
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What is Vermicompost?
As NC State University describes it, Vermicomposting is a process that relies on earthworms and microorganisms to help stabilize active organic materials and convert them into a valuable soil amendment and source of plant nutrients.
Earthworms feed on organic wastes like straw, husk, leaves, stalks, weeds, and kitchen scraps, reducing their volume by 40-60 percent, eventually converting them into vermicompost.
Significance of Earthworms in Vermicompost
According to a study by the Indian Journal of Biotechnology, most species of earthworms reduce plant pathogens and are believed to release enzymes and hormones, which are beneficial for plant growth.
A report by the Department of Biological Sciences, Chennai, India, states that earthworms bring about mineralization of organic matter and thereby release the nutrients in available forms that can be taken up by the plants.
The most important effect of earthworms may be the stimulation of microbial activity that enhances the transformation of soluble nitrogen into microbial protein thereby preventing their loss through leaching to the lower horizons of the soil.
How to Prepare the Vermicompost at Home?
- Whatever bin you choose, it should have ample holes at the bottom.
- Fill half of the bin with shredded newspaper with a mixture of sterile garden soil and sand.
- Add plenty of earthworms, preferably redworms, to the bin.
- Keep the bin in any dark and cool place.
- Add the leftover fruits, vegetables, peels, and other kitchen waste to the bin once every 1-2 weeks. Also, provide some additional moisture using a spray bottle.
- Avoid putting meat, dairy products, and oil in the bin, as they produce a foul odor and attract unwanted pests and bacteria.
- As the worms feed on the food waste, they excrete worm poop or casts.
- Your vermicompost will be ready to use within a few months.
Best Temperature for Earthworms
Earthworms feed on organic waste and produce vermicompost best when the temperature is around 15–25 °C. They can do well when the temperature is above 10 C and below 30 C.
Food scraps for Vermicomposting
Fruits, vegetables, peels, coffee grounds, teabags, grains, eggshells, leaves, grass clippings, newspapers, and wood chips.
How to Use Vermicompost | Uses of Vermicompost
You can add the vermicompost to the seed starting mix and planting hole before transplanting. Top-dress the garden plants with the vermicompost every two months. You can also mix some of it directly into the growing medium for your potted and garden plants.
Note: Earthworm castings contain 5-11 times more nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium than the normal garden soil.
Benefits of Vermicomposting
- Improves soil aeration, fertility, and porosity.
- Minimizes the need for fertilization by making the soil fertile.
- Attracts good bacteria.
- Improves the water holding capacity of the soil.
- Aids in plant and root growth.