Earthworms play an essential role in composting, and their microbial activity contributes to the composition of vermicompost, a rich source of organic nutrients and other valuable elements. In addition to recovering the soil’s fertility, vermicompost helps reduce the use of chemical fertilizers and enhances the earth’s structure. The resulting material is an excellent alternative to chemical fertilizers and compost.
When composting, vermicompost is usually produced with red wigglers. Red wigglers consume waste materials rapidly, and they can eat up to one pound of natural waste in a day. You can purchase red wigglers from a local bait shop or online. The number of worms you need will depend on the amount of waste you produce each day.
Red wigglers are hermaphrodites. If they need to reproduce, they must be in a bin with a cooler environment. Red wigglers feed best in temperatures of 15 to 25 degC. For warm climates, perionyx excavatus is a good choice. A worm bin placed outdoors should be protected from direct sunlight and frost.
Earthworms consume wastes and excrete dark casts, which are rich in nutrients. These castings are known as “worm poop” because they contain five to eleven times more nitrogen than soil. The castings are considered highly beneficial to plant production. It is not uncommon for vermicompost bins to become clogged with castings, making them unusable as a composting medium.
Vermicomposting is a highly effective way to restore the nutrients depleted by chemical fertilizers. The vermicompost production also has a range of indirect effects on the climate. It improves the soil’s water-holding capacity, reduces the need for pesticides and fertilizers, and increases water infiltration. Compared to traditional garden compost, vermicompost is more carbon-rich. Moreover, it also improves soil health. Achieving a better soil condition with vermicompost can help plants resist weeds and diseases.