For centuries, earthworms have been used as a means of decomposing wastes and improving soil structure. Increasing numbers of businesses worldwide are successfully employing vermiculture technology and marketing vermicompost as an excellent soil conditioner, to farmers and gardeners. The breeding and propagation of earthworms and the use of its castings has become an important method of waste recycling throughout the world. It is common to use earthworms on industrial scales to aerate, sanitize and deodorize many types of contaminated waste sludge. For instance, Japan imports millions of tons of earthworms per annum for waste conversion. Worms are odorless and free from disease. Vermiculture looks set to emerge as a significant waste management technology.
Essentially, earthworms function as natural bioreactors. The technique yields organic fertilizers, permits safe disposal of certain organic wastes and reduces the requirement for landfilling.
Vermicomposting can be conducted all year-round, providing environmental conditions remain within acceptable limits. For increased efficiency, care should be taken to ensure that organic feedstocks and conditions allow worms to reproduce successfully and to withstand moisture and climatic fluctuations. Given suitable conditions, vermicomposting appears to provide a relatively straightforward solution to the management of compostable organic wastes.
Earthworms are hermaphroditic - that is, each worm is both male and female and each can produce eggs and fertilize the eggs produced by another worm. Under perfect conditions a mature breeder will produce an egg capsule every 7 to 10 days, each containing over 1 dozen hatchlings. Development takes 14-21 days and, once hatched, the newly-emerged worms reach maturity in approximately four to six weeks, meaning that the worm population may double each month.
The process is odorless
The end product vermicast is odorless, smelling like fresh soil.
Vermicast has a high market value as a fertilizer or soil conditioner.
Green waste is converted into an enhanced, value-added product.
The market for the end product has not been saturated.
Vermicast is easily transported. It can be bagged, or shipped in bulk
The leachate produced is a valuable nutrient source.
Worm Tea is a valuable all natural pesticide/fertilizer.
The process is pollution free.
The process uses little land and consumes little energy to operate
When compared with soil, worm casts also contain:
5 times more nitrogen; 7 times more phosphorus;
1.5 times the calcium; 11 times more potassium;
3 times more exchangeable magnesium.