Table of Contents
- 1 Introduction
- 2 What is Vermicomposting?
- 3 An Overview of the Process of Vermicomposting
- 4 Importance of Vermicomposting in Modern Agriculture
- 5 Pros
- 6 Cons of Vermicomposting
- 7 Main Differences Between Vermicomposting and Composting
- 8 Is Vermicomposting Really Worth It?
The process of vermicomposting has been known for over half a century now, but not so many people are aware of it. To make it even worse is the fact that people do not fully comprehend the range of benefits that come with it.
This is because it is a process that deals with the conversion of waste products into organic fertilizers. In simple terms, vermicomposting converts farm and domestic wastes into compost for agricultural use.
The history of vermicomposting started in 1929 when an American husband and wife team by the name of William and Phebe Hendricks developed their technique for household use to convert garbage from their home into useful materials.
Vermicomposting is an excellent way to recycle food wastes in the kitchen and yard waste in the backyard. The best thing about Vermicomposting is that you don’t need a plot of land or your own garden to practice it. To start using vermicomposting at home you will need to set up a simple worm farm. There are many ways to do vermicomposting over the internet but we have the best vermicomposting guide
The work began at their own kitchen table where they used earthworms to decompose waste into manure. What was left behind after one month was some fine, dark-colored humus, which was then spread on the plants in their garden.
From there it has spread like wildfire among the agricultural community and has become accepted. There are thousands of companies and farmers that use vermicomposting.
What is Vermicomposting?
Vermicomposting or worm composting is a process that uses earthworms in order to decompose organic matter. During this process, the worms cocoon organic material into something called castings or vermicast. The end product is very rich in nutrients and contains more than double the nutritional value of ordinary soil.
The key to safe and efficient home-based composting is using a good container. Inexpensive bins can be as simple as hay bales or wooden pallets, but sometimes the best available material is actually an old portable plastic playpen. Thus comes the many different composting methods that exist now. They all come with their own advantages and disadvantages. Thus we have the best guide on learning how to make your own composting bins and getting compost from them.
The result of this method can be used as fertilizer for plants and vegetables at home or on farming sites that complement conventional methods very well. There are many benefits to using vermicompost over traditional fertilizer and other methods.
These will all be covered within the article, but first, let’s get an overview of the process of vermicomposting.
An Overview of the Process of Vermicomposting
The process is actually fairly simple, using only a few cheap materials and the right kind of earthworms. If done correctly, this process can result in an excellent soil amendment for your plants.
It’s also good because you’re creating compost material rather than buying it from someone else, which both saves money and ensures its quality. All you really need to get started is some space for the bins full of worms, some bait worms (more on those later), a few pieces of screening or perforated plastic to keep the worms where they belong, and something to house them in.
From then you let nature take its course and it’s nothing short of astonishing. The worms reproduce and the population grows quickly, which means you’ll have enough to harvest in about three months.
You check on them every so often, take out the finished compost material and let it finish curing while adding new food scraps…and then repeat the process with your new population. It’s almost like having a colony of ants working for you!
Thanks to these hard-working little animals, you will be able to create worm castings that are just what your garden needs. The soil will feel lighter, absorb water better, and have more nutrients from you taking care of it than when you didn’t use any kind of fertilizer at all.
Best believe that even if you won’t be the one conducting the experiment, you still will be a fan of this incredible process.
Importance of Vermicomposting in Modern Agriculture
The importance of vermicomposting in modern agriculture is not something that can just be pushed away. Vermicomposting comes with many advantages and close to no disadvantage at that.
Even when compared to compost and other fertilizers, as will be shown in the article, the importance of vermicomposting in modern agriculture will have you wanting to try it out.
To get a better understanding of this we take a look at different aspects of the importance of vermicomposting in modern agriculture.
1. Enriching the Soil
Vermicomposting plays a major role in enriching the soil. The effect of compost has been well known for many years and it is one way that farmers have used to improve their soils. There are different ways that vermicomposting can be applied in order to enhance the nutrients found within the soil.
Vermicompost mixed with animal manure or even alone helps increase the supply of nitrogen. While this will also be done by chemical fertilizers, they are not as effective as vermicompost and are also expensive to apply over large areas.
The other advantage when using compost on your crops is that it will help decrease erosion of small particles from farmlands, which makes them ideal for hilly fields or those prone to erosion.
2. It is Organic
Vermicompost is an organic fertilizer because it is made up of organic material from plant and animal sources, which has been broken down through the process of decomposition. It doesn’t contain any synthetic or chemical additives.
This allows for the compost to moderate the soil, nutrients that are present making sure that there is no nutrient that is at a higher percentage than the others.
3. It is Eco-friendly
Vermicomposting does not require additional fuel resources to produce the compost as compared with other methods. This form of composting also causes less pollution than other types of compost.
This ensures that there are no harmful chemicals being released during production as compared to using soil fumigants on crops prior to planting. Additionally, vermicompost makes use of earthworms.
The earthworms aid in ensuring a sustainable ecosystem through recycling nutrients and enhancing the quality and productivity levels of soils by providing fertile conditions for plants growth and development.
4. It is Economical
Vermicomposting is also said to be economical in nature. Vermicomposting does not require additional expenses, as compared with other methods of composting that may require the use of machinery and manpower. This also means lesser costs to farmers who are in need of producing quality compost for their soil needs and plants growth.
Vermicompost increases plant yield by 10-20%. This aids farmers in increasing crop production which can further enhance farm income generation through sales of the produce. In addition, it makes use of a free resource that reduces manure costs for farmers thereby increasing overall profit margins.
5. It Enriches the Soil
Earthworms are well known for their ability to improve soil quality. They regulate the mineralization of soil particles thereby increasing their nutrient status. This leads to increased plant growth and improved soil productivity.
Earthworms can also break down such organic materials as dead leaves, stems, and roots into a form that is readily usable by plants, making them an important part of any composting process.
This makes vermicompost fit for use in potting mixes, seed inoculants, mulching material and even planting mediums in various greenhouses around the world. It helps promote better plant growth and crop yields while reducing the need to depend on chemical fertilizers and pesticides as much as possible.
6. They Make Use of Waste Material
Efficient use of waste material was once the main concern among farmers. They are now more concerned about producing crops that have a great nutritional value and quality as well as economic viability.
This is where vermicomposting comes into play. It allows them to make use of organic wastes from households and industries (such as spoiled fruits and vegetables, animal manure, and sewage sludge), turning them into nutrient-rich soil enhancers for their farms.
This means they can produce crops that not only have a higher yield but also contribute to the reduction of trash in landfills or compost piles, helping improve our environment in the long run.
7 There’s Less Risk Involved
While there is no definite assurance that vermicomposting will lead to a better outcome with no risks, it has so far been proven to be less risky than other farming alternatives.
This is because most of the waste it relies on is known as ‘wet wastes’ that usually gives off a rather foul smell. Vermicomposting, meanwhile, converts these wet wastes into nutrient-rich fertilizer.
If even just one part of the compost becomes contaminated with bad bacteria or toxins, chances are you’ll still have plenty more left to use in your crops.
Cons of Vermicomposting
The cons of vermicomposting include:
There is a long period of time involved in composting, and though the process is natural, it can take months to complete. It takes continuous monitoring and maintenance throughout the whole process if you want to get optimum results.
This also means that you’ll have to be available to tend to your compost regularly.
2. Moisture content
Vermicompost needs moisture content at most times for microbes to thrive especially during summer when air is dry, naturally, or with the use of dehumidifiers by adding water as needed based on its humidity levels
Failure to do this then the microorganisms will die, and this will mean that they won’t be able to work any longer on converting waste into nutrient-rich fertilizer.
3. Proper oxygen supply
Proper air movement is very important as this allows proper aeration of the compost. You can achieve this by having a good site for your bin and using fans strategically to make sure that there’s enough wind inside the pile.
This will also prevent bad odors from forming which in turn attracts pests and other unwanted organisms. If you don’t want to use any machinery, then placing hand tools such as rakes on top of the heap can help by leaving holes open where air seeps through.
Main Differences Between Vermicomposting and Composting
This helps us understand the importance of vermicomposting in modern agriculture even more.
Vermicomposting has very strict measures to how it should be carried out. For vermicomposting, it can be carried out outdoor but not on the ground but in a restricted place like in the bin.
On the other hand, composting can be carried out outdoor in a pit of any size. This gives the farmer the chance to make as much over as much area as possible.
While composting can be done over a large area of land and on a depth that the farmer is okay with, vermicomposting doesn’t happen that way. For vermicomposting, the depth should be around 5-12 inches because that is the depth that worms prefer.
Monitoring Vermicompost is something that happens a lot. You have to check the temperature of the compost, the moisture levels as well as the food present for the worms to eat.
On the other hand, composting doesn’t require much monitoring. Maybe checking whether the com materials needed are readily available and cheap.
The cost of vermicomposting is higher than that of composting. Vermicomposting is more labor-intensive than composting so that might be one of the reasons why.
5. Time Taken for Completion
It takes much longer to harvest vermicompost than compost because you have to wait since it’s a living thing. With compost, after 45 days or so, you can already harvest some materials from your batch.
But with this one, you don’t know when will be able to harvest it till the worms do their own work and get all done with it. If there is no more feedstock added, then the worm farm becomes gradually reduced in size (and number) over time.
This is due to the natural attrition of the worms which die and decompose naturally within the system. The production capacity of the two also differs in that the production capacity of vermicomposting is greater than the composting since it grows worms and grows it also adds to the mass of the worm farm.
Composting, on the other hand, makes use of microorganisms such as bacteria to decompose ‘animal wastes’ which do not grow but consumes and eventually till nothing remains.
Is Vermicomposting Really Worth It?
Vermicomposting is definitely worth the hype and the struggles that a farmer has to go through. The advantages that come with the method are unbelievable, proving the importance of vermicomposting in modern agriculture.
What makes it even better is the fact that vermicomposting isn’t just care about the plants, it takes care of the environment since it’s an organic way of making your plants produce more.
The time taken to make vermicomposting work may prove to be a problem for a farmer who has a lot on his/her plate. But overall, the importance of vermicomposting in modern agriculture is not something that can just be dismissed.
This only begs one question to you, do you see the importance of vermicomposting in modern agriculture?