Vermicompost is the product or process of composting using various worms, usually red wigglers, white worms and other earthworms to create a heterogenous mixture of decomposting vegetable or food waste, bedding materials and vermin compost. Vermicompost also called worm castings, worm humus or worm manure is the end product of the breakdown of matter by an earth warm. It containing water-soluble nutrients, vermicompost is an excellent nutrient rich organic fertilizer and soil conditioner. This process of producing vermicompost is called vermcomposting.
Nutritive value of vermicompost
The nutrients content in vermicompost vary depending on the waste materials that is being used for compost preparation. If the waste materials are heterogeneous one, there will be wide range of nutrients available in the compost. If the waste materials are homogenous one, there will be only certain nutrients are available.
The common available nutrients in vermicompost is as follows
- Organic carbon : 9.5 – 17.98%
- Nitrogen : 0.5 – 1.50%
- Phosphorous : 0.1 – 0.30%
- Potassium : 0.15 – 0.56%
- Sodium : 0.06 – 0.30%
- Calcium and Magnesium : 22.67 to 47.60 meq/100g
- Copper : 2 – 9.50 mg kg-1
- Iron : 2 – 9.30 mg kg-1
- Zinc : 5.70 – 11.50 mg kg-1
- Sulphur : 128 – 548 mg kg-1
- Vermicompost is rich in all essential plant nutrients.
- Provides excellent effect on overall plant growth, encourages the growth of new shoots / leaves and improves the quality and shelf life of the produce.
- Vermicompost is free flowing, easy to apply, handle and store and does not have bad odour.
- It improves soil structure, texture, aeration, and waterholding capacity and prevents soil erosion.
- Vermicompost is rich in beneficial micro flora such as a fixers, P- solubilizers, cellulose decomposing micro-flora etc in addition to improve soil environment.
- Vermicompost contains earthworm cocoons and increases the population and activity of earthworm in the soil.
- It neutralizes the soil protection.
- It prevents nutrient losses and increases the use efficiency of chemical fertilizers.
- Vermicompost is free from pathogens, toxic elements, weed seeds etc.
- Vermicompost minimizes the incidence of pest and diseases.