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Worms & Castings

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Vermicompost is the product or process of composting utilizing various species of worms, usually red wigglers, white worms, and earthworms to create a heterogeneous mixture of decomposing vegetable or food waste, bedding materials, and vermicast. Vermicast, similarly known as worm castings, worm humus or worm manure, is the end-product of the breakdown of organic matter by a species of earthworm.

 The earthworm species (or composting worms) we offer are Red Wigglers (Eisenia foetida or Eisenia andrei). These species commonly are found in organic-rich soils throughout Europe and North America and live in rotting vegetation, compost, and manure piles. They are shallow-dwelling worms and feed on decomposing plant matter in the soil, they adapt easily to living on food or plant waste in the confines of a worm bin. These little wigglers are voracious eaters Red Wigglers will consume their weight in food once every two days. Red Wiggler composting worms are available for local pickup or delivery.

  

Please call ahead for purchasing Red Wigglers   

24 hours advanced notice is needed to fill orders for composting worms.

 

Compost, Worm Castings, and Vermicompost

"Compost and worm castings contain both active organisms and dormant spores. Most of the species in compost cannot be grown in lab media, in lab conditions, and thus are unnamed. But in compost and worm castings, the full diversity of beneficial organisms will be present, based on the starting materials and conditions of composting or the process of making worm castings. In aerobic conditions, when adequate aerobic organisms are present, disease organisms cannot cause disease.

The worm casts are the tiny balls of encapsulated organic matter containing an outstanding community of bacteria, fungi, and protozoa that come from being passed through an earthworm’s digestive system. Some beneficial nematodes survive passage through the earthworm’s digestive system, as well. Worm compost (vermicompost) includes some microorganisms that did not pass directly through the worm digestive system, but rather, came in contact with the surface of the worm. These microorganisms also suppress disease-causing organisms. High-quality worm compost, which includes the cast, also contains plant growth hormones and a number of enzymes that promote decomposition of plant material. Enzymes, while useful, do not last very long (mere hours to days) and are rapidly consumed by bacteria. Thus the real workhorses of the soil or soilless media are the microorganisms that require a microscope to be seen."

-Written by Dr. Elaine Ingham, Ph.D. and Dr. Carole Ann Rollins, Ph.D.