One of the first creepy crawlies we experience as young people is the lowly earth worm.
Do you remember seeing a worm for the first time? I’ve seen many kids contort in disgust. I’ve also witnessed children beam pure and utter amazement, holding out their hand, eyes wide open, reaching in anticipation.
It turns out that the vermicompost earth worm, Eisenia fetida, isn’t that lowly after all.
According to the New York Times yesterday, Worms Produce Another Kind of Gold for Growers, writes how vermicompost is a powerful living soil that improves the health and vigor of plants.
The article states:
“New research suggests that … a worm-created soil additive called vermicompost, offers an array of benefits for plants — helping them grow with more vigor, and making them more resistant to disease and insects, than those grown with other types of composts and fertilizers.
The earthworm’s digestive process, it turns out, “is a really nice incubator for microorganisms,” said Norman Q. Arancon, an assistant professor of horticulture at the University of Hawaii at Hilo.
And these microbes, which multiply rapidly when they are excreted, alter the ecosystem of the soil. Some make nitrogen more available to plant roots, accounting for the increased growth. The high diversity and numbers of microbes outperform those in the soil that cause disease.
By contrast, Dr. Arancon said, soil that has been heavily exposed to synthetic fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides lacks microbial richness and diversity, qualities that can be restored naturally by adding the microbes from worms.”
I’m glad my Mom sent me the article. It describes very well what we already knew, and why we incorporated vermicomposting into our bioshelter.
You can read more about our worm composting system in the Backyard Bioshelter Blog post Vermicompost.