Earthworms vermicompost is proving to be highly nutritive ‘organic fertilizer’ and more powerful ‘growth promoter’ over the conventional composts and a ‘protective’ farm input (increasing the physical, chemical & biological properties of soil, restoring & improving its natural fertility) against the ‘destructive’ chemical fertilizers which has destroyed the soil properties and decreased its natural fertility over the years.
Vermicompost is rich in NKP (nitrogen 2-3%, potassium 1.85-2.25% and phosphorus 1.55-2.25%), micronutrients, beneficial soil microbes and also contain ‘plant growth hormones & enzymes’. It is scientifically proving as ‘miracle growth promoter & also plant protector’ from pests and diseases.
Vermicompost retains nutrients for long time and while the conventional compost fails to deliver the required amount of macro and micronutrients including the vital NKP to plants in shorter time, the vermicompost does.
In, Argentina, farmers who use vermicompost consider it to be seven (7) times richer than conventional composts in nutrients and growth promoting values
While ‘thermophilic bacteria’ predominate in conventional composting, ‘mesophilic bacteria & fungi’ predominate in vermicomposting. Although the conventional composting process is completed in about 8 weeks, but additional 4 weeks is required for ‘curing’. Curing involves the further aerobic decomposition of some compounds, organic acids and large particles that remain after composting. Less oxygen and water is required during curing. Compost that has had insufficient curing may damage crops. Vermicomposting takes nearly half the time of conventional composting and vermicompost do not require any curing and can be used straightway after production (62).
Vermicomposts have much ‘finer structure’ than ordinary compost and contain nutrients in forms that are readily available for plant uptake. Vermicomposts have outstanding chemical and biological properties with ‘plant growth regulators’ (lacking in other composts) and significantly larger and ‘diverse microbial populations’ than the conventional thermophilic composts (70; 73; & 193).
Atiyeh (16) found that the conventional compost was higher in ‘ammonium’, while the vermicompost tended to be higher in ‘nitrates’, which is the more available form of nitrogen. They also found that vermicompost has higher N availability than the conventional compost on a weight basis and the supply of several other plant nutrients e.g. phosphorus (P), potassium (K), sulfur (S) and magnesium (Mg), were significantly increased by adding vermicompost as compared to conventional compost to soil (17 & 18).
Vermicompost retains nutrients for long time and while the conventional compost fails to deliver the required amount of macro and micronutrients including the vital NKP (nitrogen, potassium & phosphorus) to plants in shorter time, the vermicompost does.
Application of vermicompost had other agronomic benefits. It significantly reduced the demand for irrigation by nearly 30-40%. Test results indicated better availability of essential micronutrients and useful microbes in vermicompost applied soils. Most remarkable observation was significantly less incidence of pests and disease attacks in vermicompost applied crops.
Read this article by Griffith University of Queensland, Australia.