Vermicompost is the product or process of composting using various worms, usually red wigglers, white worms, and other earthworms, to create a heterogeneous mixture of decomposing vegetable or food waste, bedding materials, and vermicast, which are also called worm castings, worm humus or worm manure. It is the end-product of the breakdown of organic matter by an earthworm. These castings have been shown to contain reduced levels of contaminants and a higher saturation of nutrients than do organic materials before vermicomposting.

Containing water-soluble nutrients, vermicompost is an excellent, nutrient-rich organic fertilizer and soil conditioner. While there are nutrients in worm castings, the real benefit to worm castings is the millions of beneficial microbes that they contain. Those microbes eat organic matter in the soil and release available plant nutrients. Fungi in the castings form symbiotic relationships to transport water and nutrients to the roots. They can also hold water in the soil and help with water management. Worm castings have at least 10 times more microbes than soil or regular compost. While vermicomposting is generally known as a nutrient-rich source of organic compost used in farming and small-scale sustainable, organic farming, the process of vermicast is being studied as a treatment for organic waste around the world.

Worms eat food scraps, which become compost as they pass through the worm’s body. Compost exits the worm through its tail end. This compost can then be used to grow plants. Vermicompost is good for plants because the worms are eating nutrient-rich fruit and vegetable scraps and turning them into nutrient-rich compost.

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