What Is Vermicomposting, Vermicompost & Vermiculture? Is Answered In This Post Where I Cover Definitions & Uses of Each Of Them.

There is often a lot of confusion over What Is Vermicomposting, Vermicompost & Vermiculture? They are words that tend to be thought of as complex, difficult to understand and only for experienced gardeners . Some people regard them as almost magical.

Worm compost can replace peat
Worm compost can replace peat

The reality is that vermiculture and vermicompost are natural processes that occur where compost worms degrade organic matter. Because that is all it is. Vermiculture is natural and is about worms devouring organic matter. They do it in nar=ture all the time in places such as the woodland floor where there are plenty of leaves for the worms.

Vermiculture: It’s Not High Tech

I recently read an article that started by saying vermiculture is “a simple technology for converting biodegradable waste into organic manure without he help of earthworms”. OK, so they said it was simple, that’s good but I’d argue its not a technology, its a simple natural process. There is no technology involved unless you interfere with the process and use equipment to control the process.

My definition of vermiculture is simple. Vermiculture is the natural biologic process where compost worms break down organic matter into vermicompost. In nature it doesn’t rely on special equipment, chemicals or processes though gardeners sometimes “farm” worms in a process that uses special containers and other equipment to manage/control this natural organic process.

The word vermiculture is alsooften used to describe the farming of worms in the same way that agriculture is used to describe the farming of plants and farm animals.

What Is Vermicompost?

Vermicompost is what is produced by compost worms when they break down organic matter via natural processes. It is rich in plant nutrients and some gardeners use it to start seeds and seedlings in.

Like other forms of compost the end product is a concentrated form of nutrients. This is because the organic material has been broken down, lost much of its moisture but retained most of its nutrients.

What is Vermicast?

Vermicast, aka worm castings is another word for vermicompost. Other term used include worm manure, worm humus etc.

What is Industrial Vermiculture?

Vermiculture carried out on a large scale for profit could be referred to as industrial vermicomposting. Two end products are produced – vermicompost and worms. Both are saleable and are often retailed.

However, other forms of vermiculture are carried out in some parts of the world. For example, worms can sometimes be used to further degrade solid sewage waste in to a high value organic material that can be used as a fertiliser or soil conditioner. Some gardeners do this on a small scale via compost toilets. In the main however worms are not normally used for this as it can also be achieved using bacteria.

However, vermifilter toilets, aka tiger worm toilets, do make use of compoosting worms.

Tag: What Is Vermicomposting, Vermicompost & Vermiculture?

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