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Lombric Humus: A Field Test of Organic Fertilizer for Plant Growth

Worm castings, a type of organic fertilizer, are widely employed in organic agriculture to nourish plants, vegetables, and fruit trees. Discover the benefits they offer.

by BioGrow

Lombric humus, one of the popular organic fertilizers used in organic farming, plays a crucial role in nourishing plants, vegetables, and fruit trees. We have previously discussed vermicomposting, which involves breeding earthworms, such as the Eisenia Fetida (red Californian worm), both professionally and domestically. This practice is essential for producing this natural fertilizer. In this article, we will present a field test conducted using this natural fertilizer. Specifically, the test involved applying the fertilizer during the transplanting phase of aromatic plants and observing their growth with the addition of this substance.

But first, let’s explore what worm humus is all about.

What is Lombric Humus?

Earthworm humus as organic fertilizerThe tested lombric humus is the result of professional vermicomposting, where earthworms of the Eisenia Fetida species are bred. These red worms are responsible for creating the organic fertilizer. According to the D.l. 29 April 2010, n. 75, only manure from non-industrial farms is allowed for breeding them and producing humus. Moreover, the use of organic waste is prohibited. The resulting fertilizer is specifically designed for the organic fertilization of plant species, making it suitable for horticulture and gardening at the domestic level.

Characteristics of Lombric Humus

Earthworm humusThe appearance of lombric humus produced by earthworms is quite similar to regular garden soil.
It has a light brown color and is fine and soft to the touch.
This product is rich in enzymes and auxins, substances derived from the earthworms’ intestines, which stimulate natural plant growth. It has a long shelf life; even after opening the package, its chemical and physical properties remain unchanged.
Regarding our plants, this organic fertilizer provides several benefits:

  • It offers immediate nutrition to plants, releasing it slowly and steadily
  • It provides the soil with a balanced C/N ratio. This Carbon/Nitrogen ratio is crucial as it indicates the availability of nitrogen, a fundamental macro-element for plant life. In this case, the C/N ratio is 13.2, with organic nitrogen at 1.8%
  • It improves soil structure through its content of humic and fulvic acids, which have a granular and viscous structure
  • It’s a fertilizer that won’t burn plants, as it comes from a controlled transformation process. Hence, it’s a stable and pre-processed product
  • Lombric humus retains moisture, reducing the need for irrigation
  • It’s excellent for seeding as it contains pseudo-hormonal substances that promote germination
  • It’s recommended for transplanting as it reduces plant stress
  • It’s entirely odorless.

Field Test

Earthworm humus and lavender transplant

Lavender transplant

To test the lombric humus, we conducted an experiment using potted plants. We used small aromatic and medicinal plants purchased from a trusted nursery. Specifically, we planted peppermint, oregano, lemon balm, sage, thyme, rosemary, and lavender. These were transplanted into larger pots. We mixed regular garden soil with river sand to improve drainage. After preparing a soil base in the pot, we added the humus, covered it with more soil, and transplanted the plants. The new pot had a diameter of 40 cm to facilitate lush plant growth (you can find a terracotta pot of similar size here).
We used approximately 50-100 g of humus per plant. The specific quantities for each operation are indicated on the product’s packaging. For example, the quantities required for transplanting fruit trees or vegetables.

Results of the Experiment

Seedlings with earthworm humus

Seedlings with earthworm humus

In the two accompanying photos, we present the results of our experiment. The first photo shows newly transplanted aromatic plants with the addition of fertilizer.
In the second photo, we display the growth after 45 days of transplanting.
Clearly visible in the photos, these aromatic plants have displayed healthy and robust growth. Notably, thyme, lemon balm, and peppermint have exhibited particularly satisfying development.
The plants were regularly watered, once every two days. Despite the high temperatures during this period, they did not show any signs of heat stress.
No yellowed or damaged leaves were observed.

Seedlings after 45 days from repotting

Seedlings after 45 days from repotting

The entire vegetation boasts a vibrant green color, and the plants (depending on the species) are in full vegetative activity (mint, sage, rosemary, and lemon balm) or in bloom (oregano, lavender, thyme).
No attacks from pests or signs of fungal diseases have been reported.
Hence, we can be highly satisfied with the use of lombric humus as an organic fertilizer for our biological cultivations.
If you’re looking for lombric humus, you can find here.

Further Reading

  • Acres U.S.A. – “Compost revolution: natural growing with worm humus”: This book highlights the efficacy of vermicomposting, combining classic and cutting-edge research with real-world experience in gardens and horticultural applications. It emphasizes the role of earthworms as the original organic farmer and the benefits of worm composting as an alternative to traditional composting methods.
  • Createspace – “Worm farming: creating compost at home with vermiculture”: A comprehensive guide to worm farming, detailing the process of using worms to produce nutrient-rich compost for gardening. The book provides insights into worm digestion, the benefits of worm composting, and offers step-by-step instructions on setting up and maintaining a worm farm.
  • Nova Science Publishers – “Earthworm vermicompost: a sustainable alternative to chemical fertilizers for organic farming”: This book discusses the ecological quality of compost and digestate used as fertilizers for agricultural purposes. It emphasizes the importance of earthworms in enhancing soil quality and presents the VermiChester system of producing vermicompost using stackable bakery trays filled with composting worms.

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