The Wonder of Vermicompost

Lees in Afrikaans

What is vermicompost?

We all know that earthworms in our soil are a good thing and they improve drainage and soil structure, but perhaps the biggest benefit is that earthworms leave behind a richer soil than was there before. Worms feed on plant debris (dead roots, leaves, grasses, manure and soil and their digestive systems concentrate the organic and mineral contents of the food they eat. What they cast off is a rich ‘compost’ that is readily available for plants to thrive. In other words, castings or vermicompost.

Vermicompost versus compost

Composting plant material and kitchen waste relies on an aerobic process that breaks down the materials at high temperature. On the other hand, vermicomposting is a low temperature process where the worms do the work and it has the added benefit of producing ‘worm tea’ in the drainage process which can also be used to great benefit to the garden.

The benefits of vermicompost

  • Vermicompost has 5 times more nitrogen than most composts and provides plants with energy to grow and produce fruit or flowers. Nitrogen is considered the most important component for plant growth.
  • It’s a slow release fertiliser that will not burn your plants.
  • It has 7 times the usual phosphorus which helps in strong root growth. Strong roots are the lifeline of a plant, taking up air, water and nutrients from the soil.
  • It has 11 times more potassium triggering the activation of enzymes and ensuring growth and health of flowers and fruit.
  • Using vermicompost also improves overall soil health, resulting in a cleaner soil.
  • Vermicompost is clean, odourless and can be used indoors and outdoors to boost your plants.
  • Worm castings also supply magnesium, phosphates, calcium and potash, along with a range of micro-nutrients and trace elements.

Using vermicompost

To get vermicompost, you usually have to get a worm farm and start the process with special worms and have the time to make sure the worms are fed and watered. For the easier route, Wonder has done all the work for you and you can now buy Wonder Organic Vermicompost in bags.

For indoor use, add vermicompost to potting soil before potting up, or mix into the soil of established houseplants. In the garden, incorporate into surface soil around plants and add to planting holes when transplanting and adding new plants.

When sowing seed in seedling mix or in prepared beds, they will benefit greatly by adding vermicompost to the mix and improve the growth of seedlings.

An added benefit of vermicompost if that it can be used to make worm tea by soaking a few tablespoons in water overnight. Strain and dilute for use as a general liquid fertilizer for plants.

For more on this and other Wonder products visit www.wonder.co.za.

The Gardener