|The Role of Worms in Composting|
Worms are little troupers in the garden and the compost pile. It all begins with "worm poop!
The plants love worm poop, or worm casts.
Worms can eat their own weight of organic matter in a day, and get their nourishment from the micro-organisms in it. When the food passes through their bodies, it makes even more micro-organisms that plants love. The process also kills plant diseases!
"Worm casts also contain five times more nitrogen, seven times more phosphorus, and 11 times more potassium than ordinary soil, the main minerals needed for plant growth, but the large numbers of beneficial soil micro-organisms in worm casts have at least as much to do with it. The casts are also rich in humic acids, which condition the soil, have a perfect pH balance, and contain plant growth factors similar to those found in seaweed. There's nothing better to put in your garden!"
Vermicomposting (June 6, 2005)
What does worm poop do? Worms combine with bacteria, fungi, and insects to break down organic material. With a proper mix of heat, moisture, and air they create a rich humus that provides nutrients for plants, aerates soil, and increases the soil's ability to hold water.
Red worms are typically used in compost piles, whether indoors or outdoors. The common earthworm prefers garden soil rather than the compost pile. However, earthworms can be found at the bottom of compost piles. When the upper layers decompose, earthworms eat their way "up" the pile.
"Vermicomposting" is an indoor method for recycling household garbage with red worms. Since food waste is largely water, these worms release the water and eat half their body weight in one day! Their castings become a very concentrated compost that plants love. These worms can eat vegetable scraps; tea leaves and coffee grounds and their paper; vacuum cleaner debris; soaked newspaper, egg and pizza cartons. They don't like meat and dairy products. They produce better compost with a varied diet.