I have to admit; I wasn’t so sure about having thousands of worms eating food scraps in my basement. But I’m glad I did it! Six months after setting up my vermicompost center, I have a ton of beautiful, rich castings ready to use on my plants. Here are the top five reasons why we love worm compost.
1. Anytime, Anywhere
Short on outdoor space? No problem! Vermicomposting can be done on a small balcony, a garage, basement, or inconspicuous corner of the house. All you need is a space big enough to house an 18-20 gallon bin (follow our DIY guide). When the seasons change, composting kitchen scraps is still a breeze, and better yet, when running smoothly, the container won’t smell in the house.
2. Low Maintenance
Once your worm bin is set up with the proper bedding and the moisture level is right, there’s very little you have to do. Vermicomposting doesn’t need turning because the worms do it for you as they move around looking for food. As the worm population increases (they reproduce every four weeks) you can add more food scraps to the bin more regularly. The worms will even tell you when they’re unhappy in their environment by climbing up the sides of the container.
3. A Little Goes A Long Way
Worm castings are the best compost you’ll ever get. Extremely rich, you only need a little bit when adding to your gardens, seedlings, veggie patch, or houseplants. As the worms eat the kitchen scraps in the bin, the secretions in their digestion tracts free up more plant nutrients. According to Clare Foster, author or Compost: How To Make And Use Organic Compost To Transform Your Garden, what you end up getting is compost with five times more nitrogen, seven times more phosphorus, and 11 times more potassium than other kinds.
4. Pest Protection
Vermicompost is gorgeous; beyond being rich in essential nutrients, it has a beautiful structure, is porous, well-aerated, and has an excellent moisture-holding capacity. The compost is also very low in pathogenic microorganisms, as the worm’s gut destroys most of them. After applying vermicompost to the garden, your crops will be better protected from aphids, spider mites, and whiteflies too. You can even spray a vermicompost tea directly to the plant’s foliage to suppress diseases.
5. Better Yields
Vermicompost can help any gardener live the dream. Apply it as a top dressing or a mulch, and sit back and watch your plants grow. It’s that simple! In a 2017 greenhouse study, mineral fertilizers were replaced with organic ones, including chicken manure and worm castings. Researchers found that beyond significantly improving soil quality, vermicompost was the most effective at promoting plant growth (stem diameter and height), and improved plant quality and quantity. Who needs chemical fertilizers when nature can do it better?