Vermis is the ancient Latin word for “worms”, thus Vermicomposting is the decomposition of organic material by worms. In other words, “Worm Composting”. The worms perform their magic on both waste matter and the soil producing a nutrient-rich, organic fertilizer and soil conditioner, referred to as “vermicompost”.

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Photo by Chris Barbalis / Unsplash

Generally, a standard aerobic compost heap gets too hot in its center for anything to live there other than bacterial organisms. However, in cooler compost plenty, plenty of the work of decomposition can be done by worms and a composting process that depends entirely on worms is named “vermicomposting”.

Vermicomposting is an easy but fairly slow approach of turning vegetable and food scraps as well as garden waste into high-quality compost and soil conditioner to be used by the gardener. Another advantage of victimization worms is that worms are abundant (20 to 50 per square foot), odorless, free from disease and work all year-round given the proper conditions. Then, vermicomposting leads to the bio-conversion of the waste stream into 2 useful products, “earthworm biomass” and “vermicompost”.

Vermicompost Redworms

Vermicomposting uses specially bred worms to aerate the soil and convert organic matter into compost. Worms are eating machines that feed on the bacteria growing on the waste organic matter and pass it through their digestive system, producing worm castings or “worm poo”.

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This worm manure or vermicastings as it is politely and officially referred to as may be useless waste to a worm, but to a gardener, it's an amazing soil conditioner and improvement medium. Vermicompost not solely contains worm poo but also their bedding materials and added organic wastes at various stages of decomposition permitting other micro-organisms to attach to the digested organic matter that has passed through the worm.

Vermicastings are a very important part of worm composting as they can be much higher in organic matter containing phosphates, nitrogen, potash, and other such nutrients than plain soil which has not been processed by the worms. Moreover, vermicastings created by the worms add structure to the soil improving aeration and water retention because of the tunnels formed by the burrowing worms aid in the storage and passage of water, which additionally washes nutrients to the roots of the plants that extend quite speedily along these horizontal tunnels.