Vermicomposting can save the world. It's integral to organic agriculture and gardening, and carbon sequestration.
Here's a short list of links to shed light on vermicompost/vermiculture.
Vermicompost and vermiculture are interchangeable terms. To grow out a worm bed, that is to allow your worm population to increase, you have to feed them. This is vermiculture. It results in high quality compost called vermicompost to communicate that it's from worms.
Here are some resources to help you get started with composting.
From the Rodale Book of Composting is this simple graphic showing what you can compost:
Government agencies support compost, and have good information about how to do it:
If you do it right, composting does not smell at all. If you uncover a portion of decomposing organic material it will smell because it's not yet fully composted. That said, be sure you chop your compost materials as finely as possible. The bigger the chunk the longer it takes to compost.
Vermiculture is the practice of composting with worms. It's very fast; your compost pile will break down much quicker with worms than without. You can even compost your garbage indoors without a mess and without odor of any kind save for that of fresh dirt. Worm composting rules!
In Colorado you can't find a better expert than John of Wormbulance fame. OrgAnnex is glad to see The Rodale Book of Composting listed on John's site. This is the one book I wish were a complete website. It has absolutely everything you need to know about composting. After reading it you might conclude as OrgAnnex does: composting can save the world.
Here are more benefits of composting
- Compost is more than a fertilizer, more than a soil conditioner. It's the symbol and means of a continuing life. Nature has been making compost eons before humans first walked the Earth.
- Compost improves soil texture and structure, qualities that enable the soil to retain nutrients, moisture, and air for the support of healthy crops.
- By increasing the soil's moisture-holding capacity, compost helps control erosion and otherwise would wash topsoil into waterways.
- Compost is the best recycler of biological wastes, turning millions of tons of our refuse into a sustainable and resilient food-growing asset.
- Compost provides and releases plant nutrients, protects against drought, controls pH, supports essential bacteria, feeds helpful earthworms, stops nutrient loss through leaching, acts as a buffer against toxins in the soil, controls weeds, and conserves a nation's nonrenewable energy resources.
- When waste is disposed of by biological means (composting) plant nutrients are conserved to the advantage of your garden.
- Compost builds good soil structure. Good structure allows a soil to breathe and facilitates circulation. Heavy clay soil - such as what we have in Colorado - tends to become waterlogged quickly, preventing water and air penetration.
- Sandy soils, which tend to let water drain away too rapidly, are rebuilt by the addition of compost. The fine particles are united into larger ones that can hold greater quantities of water in films on their surfaces.
- The higher the humus content, the more moisture a soil can absorb and retain. Humus is a complicated organic substance created and held together by fungi. It is broken down by bacteria in the final phase of composting.
- Soil improved with compost holds more moisture. Water is soaked up like a sponge and stored on the granules (structure). Structure is built by soil fungi and bacteria.
- Erosion is the end results of a gradual loss of soil fertility. Composts helps build good structure that encourages optimum fertility and resist erosion. Really fertile soil is very resistant to erosion - that is soil as nature intended it to be.
- Erosion can deplete soil fertility with amazing rapidity. Composts plays and integral role in the fight against erosion.
- Aeration is extremely important to soil health. Air plays a vital role in the maintenance of soil productivity. Without air, soils tend to become alkaline, organic matter content decreases, and active humus deactivated.
- Compost helps build soil structure that allows for optimum aeration at all times. Soil can breathe, and it needs to.
- Just as organic matter enables soils to hold more water through the enhanced formation of soil aggregates (structure), it also allows more spaces for air between soil granules.
- Compost is an excellent vehicle for carrying nutrients to your soil and plants. In a well executed compost, your garden will need no other form of fertilization.
- Naturally occurring nutrients in compost are released slowly at a rate which the plants can use them most profitably for optimum growth. Chemical fertilizers release their nutrients all at once and are leached off by water; they are available for a very short period of time.