Research conducted at respected agricultural universities* indicate vermicompost’s remarkable contributions to soil fertility and plant health.
Among the findings:
- Increased availability of nutrients such as nitrogen, phosphorous, potassium, and calcium.
- Evident suppression of soil-borne diseases that interfere with seed germination.
- Enriched plant growth hormones such as auxins, gibberellins, and cytokinins.
- Diminished populations of plant parasitic nematodes.
- Enhanced plant resistance against insect pests.
- Foliar fungal disease control has been observed as an effect of vermicompost tea application.
- High content of humic acids aid nutrient delivery to the roots of plants. Vermicompost can be applied as a top dressing, as a planting amendment, as a blend with standard compost, and as a seed starting mix ingredient. It can be used advantageously on any crop or plant. It has no known deleterious side effects. It can be stored as ordinary warehouse inventory with an extended shelf life.
References from Vermiculture Technology*, edited by Edwards, Arancon, and Sherman; CRC Press, 2011
Unique Attributes of Vermicompost
Vermicompost is produced by feeding composted animal and plant wastes to earthworms. The process results in a biologically dynamic soil amendment richly diverse and dense with populations of beneficial bacteria, fungi, and microfauna. The microbial communities of this living soil amendment restore soil biodiversity.
The leading technology for high potency vermicompost production is based on a two-phase composting sequence. Phase I produces worm feedstock by a high temperature, aerobic composting method that favors thermophilic micro-organisms while killing unwanted pathogens and weed seeds. In Phase II the feedstock is loaded into shallow, “continuous-flow” beds where feasting earthworms produce vermicompost on an uninterrupted basis.
Aqueous Solutions of Vermicompost
Vermicompost tea is produced in a customized brewer that features intense aeration and temperature moderation. A sachet containing vermicompost and food sources for microbial growth is introduced in to the brewer and subjected to aeration and agitation for about twenty-four hours. The result is a solution that teems with dense and diverse populations of microbes and fungi. The product must be used immediately to exploit peak micro-organism activity; it has a brief shelf life.
Extract is prepared by a passive steeping process without the aeration or addition of microbial foods. The result is a shelf stable solution that delivers many of vermicompost’s benefits albeit with much less impact than the tea. It can be used as the main ingredient for tea in lieu of particulate vermicompost, resulting in a solution that is free from residual sludge.
Aqueous solutions offer additional options for delivery of vermicompost.:
- Pumped through drip irrigation systems for precision application to the plant root zones.
- Sprayed on plant foliage as a direct foliar feed and for foliar disease remediation.
- Used as a soil drench, especially effective as a turf management strategy.