Vermicomposting is a process that relies on earthworms and microorganisms to help stabilize active organic materials and convert them to a valuable soil amendment and source of plant nutrients. Earthworms will consume most organic materials, including food preparation residuals and leftovers, scrap paper, animal manure, agricultural crop residues, organic byproducts from industries, and yard trimmings. This is being developed by the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and North Carolina Cooperative Extension to provide cooperative extension agents, interested stakeholders and the general public with information and resources to vermicompost organic materials generated by farms, institutions, businesses and households.
The Importance of Vermicomposting Today:
Up to 75 percent of what is discarded by North Carolina’s communities and businesses are organic materials. Instead of disposing of food scraps, yard wastes, and other organics, the materials can be vermicomposted. This method of recycling converts organic materials that have traditionally been viewed as waste into a valuable soil amendment for plants and crops. When vermicompost is added to soil, it boosts the nutrients available to plants and enhances soil structure and drainage. Vermicompost has also been shown to increase plant growth and suppress plant disease and insect pest attacks.
“Vermicompost products have many applications, including home gardening, landscaping, turfgrass, golf courses, viticulture, DOT projects, use in potting soil for the horticultural industry, and in agriculture. Vermicomposting may also be used to help solve North Carolina’s hog waste problems.”
Research & Photos
- Earthworm Castings as Plant Growth Media (No. 2, 6/97). Summary of research conducted by Clive Edwards and Ian Burrows.
- About the NCSU Lake Wheeler Compost Training Facility: Photos and information
- Photos of Rhonda Sherman giving an introduction to Vermicomposting talk.
- Photos from the 2010 Vermicomposting Conference
- Vermicomposting Gains Momentum - BioCycle
- Vermiculture Technology: Earthworms, Organic Wastes, and Environmental Management was published by CRC Press in 2011. This 35-chapter book is edited by Dr. Clive Edwards (Ohio State University), Dr. Norman Arancon (University of Hawaii-Hilo), and Rhonda Sherman (NC State University). Contributing authors are from Australia, Belarus, Brazil, Canada, China, Cuba, Hong Kong, India, Mexico, Philippines, Spain, Switzerland, United Kingdom, and United States. Click on the book title for detailed info.
- Go Green with Worms, NBC-17 News
- Classroom Experiment Demonstrates Red Wigglers’ Ability to Produce Rich Fertilizer, Knoxville News
- Worms Help Digest Region’s Food Waste, Pittsburgh Tribune
- A Turn for the Worms, News & Observer
- NCSU Profs Heed Call of the Weird, Triangle Business Journal
- Healing Appalachia – Vermicomposting
- Interview with Tom Herlihy, Worm Power