What is Vermicomposting?
It’s entirely possible that you’ve already availed the benefits of composting for your garden, and you may even know how the entire process works with the help of microbes and macrobes. It involves breaking down of organic waste matter in an accelerated decomposition process to produce nutrient humus that is good for the soil. The best part is that it is an eco-friendly and an all-natural process that causes no harm if done correctly.
So where does vermicomposting come in?
The clue is hidden in the name! Vermicomposting involves tweaking the existing composting process with the help of some extremely useful allies – earthworms. They produce a highly fertile mixture of chemicals by decomposing organic matter and create a healthy medium for your plants to grow. The two most recommended earthworm varieties for vermicomposting are the Red Wiggler or manure worm (Eisenia Fetida), and the Red Worm (Lumbricus Rebellus).
The product of vermicomposting is called a worm casting. It is a much more nutrient-rich medium for growth when compared to the ordinary soil as it contains five times more nitrogen, seven times more phosphorus, and 11 times more potassium. They also tend to have perfect pH balance, which is essential for the healthy growth of plants.
How is vermicomposting done?
Just like regular composting, vermicomposting isn’t a labor intensive task either. All you need is an aerated bin that acts like your container, a moist bedding of organic wastes generated from your home or the garden and a thousand or so earthworms of the above-mentioned variety.
Just carefully and evenly lay out your organic material and your earthworms while ensuring that there is enough room to breathe. Then, just let the natural process take place, add some more organic waste every two or three weeks and clean out completed worm castings every few months. You barely need to do any work yourself!
Vermicomposting gives you many advantages:
- It results in nutrients that are immediately beneficial to the plants. This means that no extra effort is required by the plants to break down these chemicals.
- Worm bins or boxes don’t take up too much space so that they can be perfect for the urban home gardener.
- Worm castings give dual benefits: as a natural fertilizer that does not create any long term harm for the soil unlike synthetic ones and as a soil conditioner which is superior to regular compost.
- It has been proved that vermicompost helps in increasing yield more when compared with synthetic fertilizers.
- Finally, it keeps the soil healthy by preventing diseases with no long-term side effects that come with using synthetic pesticides and medicines.
So, it is quite clear that our natural environment has so much to offer us when it comes to the health and growth of our gardens. Looking towards processes like vermicomposting will help reduce our reliance on synthetic methods and increase the long-term advantages for the soil. Once you go natural, there is no reason for you to go back!