Earthworms play an important role in enriching the environment. Their work in the soil helps keep it plowed, aerated, hydrated and fertilized. Rich, fertile soil is a major component for growing nutritious foods. Many farmers and gardeners have recognized the soil-revitalizing powers of earthworms and routinely add them to their compost bins. Composting also helps solve environmental issues.
Worms are very efficient in digesting kitchen food wastes and are the fastest method of composting garbage. Composting garbage offers such environmental benefits as nutritiously grown foods and reduced gas emissions from greenhouses and waste plants.
The process of using earthworms to turn organic waste into vermicompost (or worm humus) is called vermicomposting. Vermicompost is a natural, high-quality fertilizer and soil conditioner.
Earthworms ingest small particles and bacteria and enrich the earth with their castings (waste products). Their burrowing action aerates and hydrates the soil; the increased air and water make the soil richer.
Composting worms are of the "epigeic" category. Because of their ravenous appetites, Red Wrigglers (Eisenia fetida) are considered the best worms for composting followed by the European Night Crawler (Eisenia hortensis).
Each day a worm eats half its weight in food.
- Missouri Department of Natural Resources
- Worm Digest
- Composting 101
- Solid Waste District
- The Compost Bin
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About this Author
Loraine Degraff has been a writer and educator since 1999. She recently began focusing on topics pertaining to health and environmental issues. She is published in "Healthy Life Place" and "Humdinger" and also writes for Suite101. Degraff holds a Master's degree in Communications Design from Pratt Institute.