Worm Castings – Properties, Benefits and Other Important Things Behind the Process
The term worm castings is more commonly used in the process known as vermicompost. The latter is a process of mixing decomposed food wastes, bedding materials and vermicast to help in the so-called vermiculture process. The vermicast is in fact the worm casting itself that comes out of earthworm species breaking inside an organic matter.
Worm castings are considered excellent sources of nutrition for soil conditioning. It also serves as a rich organic fertilizer. In order to form the best vermicast, suitable worm species are often considered in the vermicomposting process. The most popular ones are Red Wigglers and European night crawlers but Blue worms are favored in tropical countries.
Where is vermicomposting used?
The essence of using a vermicast extends to both small and large scale endeavors. The process is highly practiced in countries such as Canada, the Philippines, Japan, Italy and US for agricultural and landscaping activities. It may also be used to create the so-called compost tea and most of the times, they are also sold in the market.
Large-scale vermicomposting makes use of two important methods. One is known as the windrow system or or that process where a large bin is used as bedding materials for earthworms while organic materials are incorporated in the bed. Another large-scale system is the flow-through vermicomposting.
For small-scale applications, bins and containers can be bought from the market. These are often used at home and are designed depending on the actual needs of the household. To save more on cost, old plastic containers, Styrofoam or wood may be used to make the bedding for worm castings.
Properties and benefits of vermicomposting
Vermicomposting is said to be more favorable than other composting methods. They are richer and proves to be effective techniques in commercial plants. Despite this particular property though, homemade vermicomposts are said to be lower in soil microbial biomass and activity when compared to those of municipal compost.
As for the benefits of worm castings in vermicomposts, advantages extend not only to the soil, but also for plant growth. Vermicomposting benefits for the soil include improvement of physical structure while enriching the soil with microorganisms. It also enhances water holding capacity.
With concerns on plant growth, a vermicompost crops crop yield and germination as well as improvements root structure and growth. The process also includes economic and environmental benefits. The most important ones are: reduction of contamination in other recyclables; low capital investment; and lessening of greenhouse gas emissions.