Compared to conventional composting with a high temperature or thermophilic composting, vermicomposting is an aerobic process (living only in the presence of oxygen) with a relatively low temperature (mesophilic) at the room temperature. The advantage of vermicomposting is that organic wastes can be broken down rapidly by compost worms or red wigglers in association (symbiosis) with the beneficial soil microbes which results in a stable nontoxic material called worm castings or vermicompost.
Vermicompost is different from common compost, mainly because vermicompost is richer in available nutrients and microbial activity. It will make up the beneficial soil microbial communities which exist within the compost worm castings and play an important role in the production of plant growth regulators (plant hormones) and fulvic/humic acids. The high temperature during thermophilic will reduce most of the nutrients and beneficial soil microbial activities.
Recent research shows that vermicompost also has suppressive effects against plant pathogens due to the high amount the beneficial soil microbes and antibacterial produces by the compost worms . Vermicomposting is free from human pathogens and it has been proven safe for the environment and community.
Compost worm casts are an excellent all natural odorless plant food, which can provide remarkable benefits for your soils and plants such as:
• Improving soil condition (aeration, water holding capacity)
• Increasing soil fertility (slow release organic nitrogen and other nutrients)
• Strengthening fibrous root system
• Promoting vigorous plant growth
• Producing tremendous yield (flowers and fruits)
A consistent and interesting trend for trials with plants grown in container media show that the best response occurs when vermicompost constitutes only 10 – 20% of the volume of the mix. Our vermicompost is from green or organic waste and will contribute much to the development of your organic farming and gardening.
Vegetables and annual flowers. Line bottom and sides of plant holes or seed furrows with 1 inch of compost worm castings. Set seeds or plant in place and cover with soil. Side dress during growing season at a rate of 1 cup worm casting per plant once every two months.
Perennials. Apply 1 cup of worm castings into the soil above the root zone of the plant. Apply in spring, early summer and late fall.
Potted plants and seeds. Potting mix – use 1 part worm castings to 3 parts soil. For established potted plants – add 1 inch of worm castings to top of soil and mix. Repeat every 2 months.
Lawns. New lawns – apply 10 lbs. of worm castings per 100 sq. ft. into the topsoil and mix in grass seed and water well. For established lawns – distribute as top dress 10 lbs. per 100 sq. ft.
Castings tea. Soak 0.5 – 1 part of worm castings and a little bit molasses in 10 – 15 parts water with a strong aeration for overnight. Stir well, filter and water as usual. Worm casting teas are not only used to feed plants, and restore or enhance the beneficial soil microbes. They are also sprayed onto the foliage to control foliar diseases. Casting teas are excellent for flowering, fruiting or difficult to access potted plants. Repeat weekly.
The photos above are the vertical cross section to see the stratification of the worm bedding and the finish product worm castings or vermicompost. The healthy compost worms or red wigglers will move up and stay at about 10 inches on the top layer nearby the feedstock (e.g. kitchen waste, paper waste, food waste, brewery waste, farm waste etc.). The fresh worm castings or vermicompost is regularly harvested at the bottom layer down to 30 inches or more. The density of the worms should be at least 2 handfuls or about 1 pound per square foot in order to produce a good quality of worm castings.
– Bintoro Gunadi