Home Business Vermicomposting – Get Expert Composting Help

Vermicomposting – Get Expert Composting Help

Composting creates an ideal habitat for beneficial bacteria to grow, helping the decaying process to become incredibly life-giving. It’s safe to say that Texas soils adore compost. So, the most important thing you can do to help your soil is to add this wonderful natural resource. 


Worms can be super useful when it comes to composting organic material. However, as with any agricultural process, we need to understand the science behind it. There are an estimated 1800 earthworm species worldwide, and each species plays a specialized role in nature. Selecting appropriate worm friends is therefore crucial in what is known as “vermicomposting”. 


Vermicomposting is a tangible way of reducing waste, producing fertilizers, and maintaining the balance of the ecological environment. This process can also produce fertilizers that are higher in quality than many commercial fertilizers on the market


The advantages of deliberately exploiting worms as a workforce in your compost were summarized by Anatoly M. Igonin, a professor at Vladimir State Pedagogical University:


“Nobody and nothing can be compared with earthworms in their positive influence on the entirety of Nature. They create soil and everything that lives in it. They are the most numerous animals on Earth and the main creatures converting all organic matter into soil humus, providing the soil with fertility and the biosphere with its functions: disinfecting, neutralizing, protecting, and producing.”


Earth Healthy Farm uses vermiculture to augment “the Good Food Revolution, which changes how we raise, distribute, and eat food in a way that is healthy for people and the environment.” Another worm ranch in Garland, Texas not only produces tens of thousands of pounds of vermicompost per month for organic farmers to take advantage of but also offers online vermicomposting classes.

The difference between vermiculture and vermicomposting


Earthworm culture is known as vermiculture. The goal with vermiculture is to keep increasing the number of worms to ensure a long-term harvest. The worms are either sold to clients who use them in the same manner or for other purposes.


Vermicomposting is the process of using worms to transform organic materials (typically trash) into vermicompost, a humus-like material. The objective is to process the material as soon as feasible.


These two processes are comparable, but they are not the same. If you want to make vermicompost, you should always have the highest worm population density possible. However, if you want to generate worms, you’ll want to keep the population density low enough to maximize reproductive rates.

Which worm species should you pick?


All 1800 species of earthworms can be put into three different categories:


Anecic (Greek: “out of the earth”) – Burrowing worms come to the surface at night to pull food down into their burrows, which are deep within the soil’s mineral layers. The Canadian Nightcrawler is a good example of such an earthworm.


Endogeic (Greek: “within the earth”) – These are also burrowing worms, but their burrows are typically more shallow. These worms feed on the organic matter already in the soil, so they only occasionally come to the surface.


Epigeic (Greek: “on the earth”) – These worms feed on decaying organic waste and reside in the surface litter. They do not have permanent burrows. When these worms are employed in vermicomposting, they are known as “decomposers”. 


Eisenia fetida, otherwise known as a red worm, is a type of epigeic worm often used for composting purposes. These worms prefer temperatures between 0 and 35oC, but can survive in frozen organic material for a few weeks as long as they have food available. They can take a lot of rough handling and have a very rapid reproduction rate as soon as conditions become favorable.


All of these traits make Eisenia fetida one of the most suitable worm types for turning organic material into compost fertilizer.

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Why is vermicompost regarded to be the best fertilizer?


Vermicompost is considered by many to be the best fertilizer for plants. We shall discuss some evidence that supports this view.

The effect of vermicompost on plant growth


  • Vermicompost is high in macro and micronutrients, vitamins, growth hormones, enzymes such as proteases, amylases, and cellulose, and immobilized microflora created by earthworm activity.
  • It can significantly impact crop germination, growth, flowering, fruiting, and yield.
  • In vermicompost, the generation of humic acids (or growth hormones) is high, speeding up growth and increasing yield.
  • An application ratio of 20t/ha is usually used, although this should be adjusted according to soil type. Higher applications do not increase growth or yield but may instead lead to a reduction in growth.

The role of vermicompost in soil health


  • Several studies have shown that vermicompost increases soil health by improving its physical, chemical, and biological qualities, resulting in greater crop development and yield.
  • Vermicompost is a nutrient-dense, microbiologically active organic amendment created by earthworms using ingested biomass.
  • Vermicomposting is related to the amount of soil carbon sequestration required for soil health, contributing to healthy soils. 

Vermicompost vs. organic fertilizers


Chemical fertilizers are inorganic fertilizers that are synthesized in a factory. They often contain urea, ammonium sulfate, ammonium phosphate, and ammonium nitrate, among other things. They are frequently referred to as “NPK” fertilizers as they contain various quantities of the three key macronutrients – nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium.


Vermicompost is a brilliant natural fertilizer for plants as it’s high in nutrients. It’s rich in NPK, many micronutrients, beneficial soil microorganisms, as well as plant growth hormones and enzymes. The precise amount of nutrients is determined by the organic ingredients given to the worms which produce the compost.


  • Compared to artificial fertilizers, vermicompost generates both higher quality and quantity of crops. For example, wheat yield is known to rise by at least 35%; flowers are often more colorful and larger; and fruits and vegetables have a better taste and texture, as well as a longer shelf life (Ganeshnauth, Jaikishun & Homenauth, 2018).
  • Over time, the nutrients in the worm castings are slowly released into the soil and absorbed by plants. When earthworms eat decaying organic materials, the organic chemicals pass through the worms’ alimentary canals and are broken down into minerals that are easily absorbed by plant roots. A thin layer of oil is also applied to the worm castings. Before the oil erodes, the nutrients are available for around two months. Chemical fertilizers, on the other hand, quickly release their nutrients into the soil, resulting in a rapid depletion of soil nutrients due to subterranean leaching and oxidation under sunlight. 
  • Vermicompost contains enzymes such as amylase, lipase, cellulose, and chitinase, which help to break down organic materials in the soil so that plant roots can absorb them. It also contains several hormones which promote plant growth. 
  • Plants grown using vermicompost have also been found to be more resistant to pests and illnesses. Organic farmers in India, for example, have observed a 75% drop in pest assaults on their cauliflower and banana plants after using vermicompost. Surprisingly, the number of termite attacks has decreased in soils with a large worm population (Ganeshnauth, Jaikishun & Homenauth, 2018).
  • Soil amended with vermicompost is more fertile and self-sufficient. This is because when organic substances pass through the bodies of earthworms, a diverse population of microbes is introduced to the worm castings. The microbial activities continue to produce weak acids that can dissolve rock minerals and organic matter in the soil into readily available forms, resulting in less reliance on external sources of fertilizers. This is important for soil regeneration. 
  • Worm castings have excellent porosity, meaning they have a large surface area, similar to that of peat, and can hold up to nine times their weight in water. They are fluffy and never compacted, perfect for plant roots that require a growing medium with good drainage. Since the soil has a higher water retention capacity, seeds germinate faster and seedlings grow more rapidly; plants also do not need to be watered as much and as often. 
  • Worm castings are both natural and renewable since they recycle organic waste into plant-friendly nutrients. Chemical fertilizers, on the other hand, are hazardous to the environment at every stage, from the purchase of petroleum raw materials to the manufacturing process in factories, where energy is used and pollutants are produced.
  • Chemical fertilizers can also change the chemistry of soil by disrupting its mineral equilibrium. Chemical fertilizer minerals are rapidly discharged and easily leached, damaging rivers and subsurface water.

What’s the difference between vermicompost and regular compost?


  • Vermicompost takes only four weeks to make and it can be utilized right away without curing. On the other hand, traditional composting requires eight weeks to break down the organic matter, plus another four weeks to cure before it can be used safely.
  • Vermicomposting comprises a significantly bigger and more diversified community of microbes, which are dominated by Mesophilic bacteria that live at temperatures between 68 and 113°F.

Conventional compost, on the other hand, has a significantly smaller microbial community that is largely made up of Thermophilic bacteria. This kind of bacteria thrives at temperatures between 106 and 252°F.

  • In terms of nutritional content, studies reveal that traditional compost contains more ammonium, whereas vermicompost contains more nitrates, which is a more readily available form of nitrogen (Atiyeh et al., 2000).
  • Worm castings also contain more phosphorus, potassium, sulfur, magnesium, and plant growth hormones than traditional compost.

Why is vermicompost better than cow manure?


Vermicompost is also superior to animal manure, such as cow manure, as it contains at least three to four times more macronutrients than compost made from cow dung. Vermicompost is also more porous and water retentive than calf manure, lowering irrigation requirements by 30–40%.


Vermicompost is an ideal fertilizer for plants, both in the home garden and on a commercial farm. It also contains plant enzymes, hormones, and a diverse microbial community that guards against pests and diseases while also aiding soil regeneration. Vermicompost also outperforms other types of organic compost, such as cow manure, in terms of composting time and macronutrient content.


As we can see from the facts surrounding vermicompost, it’s by far the most superior composting method, as it provides all necessary nutrients that a plant requires. What’s more, the carbon sequestration of vermicompost provides the soil with much-needed carbon, greatly increasing soil health. In simple terms, the increased physical, biological, and chemical qualities of the soil provide an optimal habitat for plants to grow in.


To summarize, vermicompost is recognized as a must-have for crop cultivation, especially when it comes to organic crop production in Texas.