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What is Vermicompost?

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  • Written By: T. L. Childree
  • Edited By: R. Halprin
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  • Last Modified Date: 09 September 2016
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Vermicompost is a type of organic fertilizer composed of worm manure. It is produced when certain species of earthworms feed upon food scraps. Vermicompost typically contains more nutrients than other types of compost and has many organic gardening uses. Organic gardeners often utilize it as a garden fertilizer, seedling starter, or potted-plant food. Some gardeners mix this compost with molasses and water to form a nutrient-rich, soil tea.

This organic fertilizer variant is composed entirely of worm castings left behind from feeding. Vermicompost is also known as worm humus, vermicast, worm compost, and worm manure. It is typically produced through a process known as vermicomposting in which red wiggler or tiger worms feed upon organic matter. Vermicomposting is conducted for both individual and commercial use.

A small vermicomposting bin may contain up to 10,000 worms feeding upon food scraps such as fruit rinds, peelings, and coffee grinds. When properly conducted under controlled conditions, the vermicomposting process is hygienic and produces no objectionable odors. Some gardeners choose to place their worm filled, composting bin in a kitchen area for convenience.

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Vermicompost is preferred by many organic gardeners because of its superior nutrient content. This fertilizer is typically more nutrient-rich than other compost materials and is often used in place of garden topsoil. Researchers have found that vermicompost also has a greater ability to suppress certain plant diseases. This compost material typically retains moisture better than other organic composts. It is a versatile fertilizer with a wide variety of gardening uses.

This compost is widely utilized as an organic fertilizer for flower gardens and food plots. The material may be mixed with topsoil for both indoor and outdoor use. It can also be spread as a thick layer on top of the existing soil. The abundance of nutrients in this compost is believed to increase fruit and flower production in many plants. Vermicompost is also widely utilized as a seedling starter and potting soil mixture. Vegetation grown in this type of compost typically grows faster and stronger without additional fertilizer.

Worm humus or vermicompost may also be dried and stored for up to two years without losing its potency. Many organic gardeners prefer to add a small amount of dried compost in place of commercial plant food supplements. Gardeners sometimes mix vermicompost with molasses and water to make a special soil tea. This mixture is utilized in place of water to drench the soil of gardens and potted plants. Soil tea may also be used as a high-potency, liquid plant food.

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