Worm compost, often referred to as vermicompost, is an approach to composting in which worms are used to break down food into rich and fertile raw compost. Vermicompost is known to enhance soil fertility by supplying ample microbial content and nutrients to aid in the growth of plants. Basically, the worms eat your left over food scraps and digest them into worm castings, which can then be used as a potent fertilizer in the garden.
Benefits of Vermicomposting
There are numerous benefits to utilizing vermicomposting in the garden. Regular hot compost is rich in nutrients, but lacks beneficial bacteria and microbial content. The worms can provide this. Furthermore, worm composting is organic and easy to implement, making it a choice solution for many home gardeners. Since vermicompost is raw, it retains higher nitrogen content than traditional compost. The use of worms in composting can help to speed up the rate at which the food decomposes, making it an efficient method of compost production. Unlike regular compost, worm compost doesn’t need to be turned. The worms do all of the labor for you, making it a simpler and less time consuming endeavor.
Disadvantages of Vermicomposting
Unlike traditional compost, vermicompost contains many limitations on what can actually be used. Due to the fact that vermicompost does not heat up like regular compost, it cannot kill any potentially pathogenic substances. Thus, animal byproducts such as manure, meat, dairy, or eggs should not be used. Highly acidic fruits such as orange peels are also not recommended. Fruit and vegetable scraps, shredded newspaper, hair, and organic matter such as leaves can all be used.
Using Worm Castings in Your Garden
For those interested in utilizing vermicompost in their yards, there are numerous ways to get started. Many garden stores will have worm castings for sale. This can give you an opportunity to experiment with worm castings before committing. However, once you are committed, making your own compost will save you a lot of money over time. Garden stores have vermicomposting bins available that can get you started. The bin consists of a multi-layered system, with each layer separated by screens. As the worms break the food down, the broken down food falls through the screen onto the next level. Additionally, you can make worm tea from the vermicompost bin. Worm tea is similar to compost tea. It is a nutrient dense liquid that can be applied to plants as a foliar spray to enhance their growth. The bin has a spout on it that collects the moisture from the compost over time, creating a nutrient rich vermicompost tea.