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The Earthworm Advantage

Forget high-tech machinery and farm implements. Earthworms themselves are the equivalent of countless inventories of agricultural equipment, compliments of Mother Nature.

Vermiculture, or worm cultivation, uses sustainable farming techniques and efficient ways of turning waste into benefit, naturally.

The Earthworm Advantage

Image source: flickr.com/photos/jlodder

Worms eat up what we might consider waste, consuming much of what we just scrape off our dinner plates. They aerate the soil and compost waste organically, helping the soil afterwards. This effect is circular of course, since better soil equals healthier plants which lends to more nutritious meals, and so on.

This do it yourself video shows simple steps for creating an indoor worm bin to utilize kitchen scraps. The rich compost it produces makes ideal soil for gardens.

In addition to these benefits, there are more environmental bonuses to opting for vermiculture as opposed to some traditional farming methods. It has been indicated that plants that grow in worm colonies naturally protect the environment since they are not as prone to diseases and insects, therefore not requiring as many chemical treatments.

According to the Worm Farming Fact Sheet leachate, a dangerous liquid byproduct of waste comprised of natural and manmade acids, poisonous compounds and rainwater is present in landfills. This pollution, along with greenhouse gas emissions, has harmful and lingering effects.

Vermiculture also uses up waste, and types of worms like redworms eliminate some of the masses of garbage that ends up in landfills. These types of farms also regulate the soil more consistently, so drought effects may be lessened. Not to mention the cost of producing worms is much less, due to their relatively low maintenance factor and the fact that they multiply very quickly, continually renewing themselves.

All of this benefit, and all without the chemical additives that store in the soil and produce their own array of circular effects by starting in the ground and ending up in our food and drink, as well as in our water systems.

The usefulness of the worm was recognized far back. Sources claim that in the time of Cleopatra’s rein in Egypt worms were used in the Nile to help fertilize the land, creating a nutrient rich base, and Charles Darwin referred to them as natural plow systems.

Unfortunately, human modernization was not so respectful of the worm. When chemicals were introduced into agriculture as a way to produce more crops it created concentrations of nitrogen additives in fertilizer and was actually responsible for killing off worm populations.

According to research, farm energy consumption could be decreased by as much as 40% if vermiculture was employed. The price of maintaining mass farming with chemical sprays and fertilizers is monstrous, and this cost could be greatly reduced by tapping into the natural resource of worming. Studies indicate that vermicompost provides enhanced crop nutrition, and less of the compost is needed because it is richer in viable nutrients.

Worms may be nature’s soil-perfector, lending a practical substitute to using chemically produced fertilizers. Although worm farming is not without its own modern day challenges, like a probable increase in flies and maintaining proper worm conditions, in many situations it is an ideal alternative to some industrialized farming methods as a naturally sustainable agriculture technique.

The fact that such small creatures play such a significant role in moving the earth prompts the realization that every living thing, even the little crawly ones, has a purpose.

The Earthworm Advantage

Image source: flickr.com/photos/schizoform

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