Gardens

Using Worm Compost to Improve the Soil

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Worm compost is produced as worm castings. These are the most complete fertilizers and soil conditioners known. As worms eat their way through underground soil they extract every available nutrient. Worm castings are also colloidal and can hold nine times their own weight in water. The natural microbial fauna transferred from the worm to the castings enables a slow release of nutrients and trace elements. This slow release enables plants to absorb them better. The rich variety of vitamins and hormones in the castings can restore soil quality without harming roots and plants. Worms also aerate the soil by their constant excavating for more food.

Soil Structure

Although compost is often used to improve soil structure, the fully digested product of a vermi-composter is far superior. There are no harmful chemicals and the digestive systems of the worms introduce many biological products - including a plant growth hormone. Attempts to improve the soil structure by digging and plowing can have the opposite effect by compacting the soil. Working worm compost into soil gently can improve the soil structure, reduce clay concentration and allow natural drainage and aeration.

Ph Levels

Because it is 100% natural and non-toxic worm compost creates an ideal scenario where Ph levels can adjust themselves automatically. The compost contains much higher levels of organic materials like nitrogen, magnesium and phosphorus. The bacteria introduced can have a very significant effect upon the soil eco system. As the soil structure is improved by the addition of worm compost, plant roots can spread better and draw more nutrients from the soil. Ph levels can also be adversely affected by plant diseases and their effects upon the plants. Worm compost can increase the resistance of plants to harmful organisms and diseases.

Nutrient Levels

Compared with commercial fertilizers worm compost is not as nutritious. This does not mean that they are less effective. Because worm compost is a totally natural product it tends to be absorbed rapidly by the plants. Commercially produced compost is applied as a massive over-dose by comparison and feeds everything - even harmful plants and fungi in the soil. Much of the nutrition is wasted because it cannot be readily absorbed before rain washes it deeper into the ground.

The Colloidal Effect

Worm compost can hold up to nine times its own weight in water. This means that it can hold moisture round the roots of plants for longer. The moisture enables the plants to take full advantage of the nutrition that is available. The compost also contains nitrogen fixing bacteria so nitrogen can be obtained from the air. The improved soil structure enables more air to penetrate the soil.

The total effect of worm compost upon the soil is so comprehensive that Ph levels and any other levels become self regulating. As more of the worm compost is applied to the soil, the soil becomes more viable and structurally sound. The renewed typical granular structure of the soil is an ideal medium for the bacteria in the worm compost to do their work.

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