Vermicompost, or worm compost, provides numerous advantages over commercial synthetic fertilizers and traditional compost. Whether you mix it into the soil directly or create a liquid concoction of compost tea, vermicomposting saves time, money and labor and also contributes to a healthier more bountiful garden and earth.
Maybe the most important benefit of worm composting is its organic quality. No need to worry about noxious chemicals contained in commercial fertilizers contaminating your food supply. Worm composting also eliminates other unwanted chemicals that make their way into your composting bin by way of food or plant scraps. And if your organic worm compost is used for landscaping, there's no risk of run-off into water sources such as streams and lakes.
2. Superior Water Retention
Because of its superior ability to hold water and moisture, vermicompost ranks more efficient than fertilizers and traditional composting. Better soil aeration created by the worms also improves water distribution for healthier soil and plants. Less watering also means less maintenance!
3. Abundant Nutrients Equals Higher Yields
A report published by The American-Eurasian Journal of Agricultural & Environmental Sciences concludes that vermicompost contains up to 11 times more potassium, nitrogen, and phosphorus than regular soil, depending on the type of plant-waste used to produce the compost. Just a few of the other abundant nutrients found in vermicompost include, iron, calcium, zinc and copper. Because of its high-nutrient content, worm compost contributes to healthier root structures, less pests and higher crop yields. More nutrients in the soil also equals higher nutrient content in the vegetables and fruits harvested.
4. Protection from Pathogens
Researchers at Cornell University found that cucumber seeds planted in soils fortified with vermicompost were resistant to Pythium aphanidermatum, a common deadly pathogen that affects seeds. Plectusporium, Rhizoctonia, and Verticillium are only a few of the other pathogens suppressed by vermicompost applications. Most seeds in the United States are treated with chemicals to protect from pathogens but with worm compost, organic seeds offer a viable alternative.
Using a 55-gallon plastic barrel, a worm composting bin takes up minimal space and can easily fit indoors in a laundry room or kitchen corner. For apartment and condo dwellers, a shady outdoor patio or balcony provides an ideal location and yields enough compost for a small garden or container garden.
Check out this short how-to video by willslawns for a simple worm composting bin construction. For a more elaborate design, Mayfield Family Farm provides this excellent how-to video, 55 Gallon Barrel Vermicomposter
Have you ever wondered how much water you can harvest from your roof during a rainstorm? While the answer depends on many variables, including air temperature, gutter system and rain harvesting system, you can get a general idea by calculating the area of your roof by the inches of rainfall.
For example, if your roof measures 100 feet by 100 feet and there has been 1 inch of rainfall, that equals over 6,000 gallons of rainwater. That's the equivalent of more than 150, 40-gallon baths!
An area of just 10 feet by 10 feet, with 1 inch of rainfall, can virtually collect about 62 gallons of water or 8 cubic feet. An acre receives 27,154 gallons of water during a rainstorm that yields 1 inch of rain and 1 square mile receives 17,378,560 gallons of water per 1 inch of measured rainfall.
The U.S. Geological Survey website provides an easy-to-use calculator to measure the amount of water a storm delivers using area and inches of rainfall. Determine how much water actually falls in a given area by feet, acres or miles. You'll be surprised how much rainwater you can harvest with just a small storm.
To learn more about this subject, check out our previous blog post, Rainwater & Harvesting Facts
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