What exactly is vermicomposting you may ask? Vermicomposting is actually using earthworms to compost or process organic waste (your vegetable waste) into a 100% natural plant fertilizer. The Latin term vermin means worm; in turn vermicomposting literally means “worm composting.” I a huge fan of composting in general but traditional composting often takes quite a bit of time to effectively break down all the components of the waste products to become rich compost. On the other hand, worms have the ability to eat through a massive amount of waste in much less time. When they process the waste, they leave behind nitrogen-rich, organic compost. This compost can then be added to your garden to greatly enrich your soil and add great nutritional benefits.
Reducing Your Waste
Did you know that according to studies conducted by the California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery, worms are very efficient eating machines and can eat over half their body weight in organic matter per day. That is an amazing amount of waste that can be in turn used. Worms can effectively process paper, manure, fruit and vegetable waste, grains, coffee grounds and ground yard waste. Although the worms will eat other waste items such as dairy and meat products, it is best just as with traditional composting to avoid these due to potential odor and pest problems. Using vermicomposting then will eliminate your waste from going into a landfill or simple wasting all the nutrients that it could provide.
Organic and Chemical Free
The most important aspect of compost produced by earthworms is that it is 100% organic with no harmful toxins or chemicals. According to Journey to Forever, an interactive educational resource, worm castings can actually be used to improve the quality of your soil. “The casts are also rich in humic acids, which condition the soil, have a perfect pH balance and contain plant growth factors similar to those found in seaweed,” the website states. traditional fertilizers but why would you want to add all of those chemicals into your garden when you can achieve the same with organic matter?
Being organic matter, the nutrients in earthworm compost are very easily absorbed by the roots of plants. Unlike traditional chemical fertilizers, the organic matter that is created from composting is not easily washed away because of worm mucus that it contains. In turn it allows the plants to benefit from it longer. The use of chemical fertilizers may initially increase the plants yield but will affect the long-term health of your soil. The use of chemicals leads to a breakdown in the soil with can lead to less disease resistant plants.