Nutrients in Vermicompost

Vermicompost, or composting with earthworms, uses red worms to turn household waste into rich compost. Vermicomposting can be done almost anywhere, since all that's required is a ventilated plastic bin, and brandling (or red worms). The worms eat kitchen scraps, shredded newspapers and cardboard and secrete castings which can be used to enrich soil.


An analysis by the University of New Mexico College of Agriculture and Economics showed that vermiculture compost contains five to 11 times the nitrogen as the surrounding soil.Nitrogen is one of the major nutrients, or macronutrients, that are needed by plants for healthy growth, and one that is often lacking in soil. Nitrogen promotes rapid growth, and is part of chlorophyll, so is important for photosynthesis.


Phosphorus is another macronutrient found in high concentrations in vermicompost. Phosphorus encourages plant bloom and fruiting.


Potassium is the third macronutrient important to plant growth. Vermicompost contains concentrated potassium. Potassium in vermicompost helps plants fight disease, aids in photosynthesis and encourages fruit production.


Zinc works with other enzymes to regulate plant growth. The University of New Mexico analysis found that vermicompost contained twice as much zinc as regular garden compost.


Vermicompost contains iron, which helps plants form chlorophyll. Chlorophyll is the green pigment that helps plants convert sunlight to energy.

Other Minerals

Vermiculture compost may also contains boron, calcium, sodium, magnesium, manganese, copper and aluminum, all micronutrients which aid in plant function and keep plants healthy.

Keywords: vermiculture compost, potassium in vermicompost, red worms

About this Author

Cynthia Myers is the author of numerous novels and her nonfiction work has appeared in publications ranging from "Historic Traveler" to "Texas Highways" to "Medical Practice Management." She has a degree in economics from Sam Houston State University. Before turning to freelancing full-time, Myers worked as a newspaper reporter, travel agent and medical clinic manager.