A question from my mailbox:
"Hi. I enjoyed your article about how to set up a worm bin. This is something I definitely want to try. I'm confused about one thing, though. I've seen references to vermicompost and others to vermicastings. Aren't they the same thing?"
Thanks for the question. This is a pretty common question. The short answer is, no, they're not the same thing. Here's the difference:
Vermicompost is a combination of worm waste (vermicastings) and the broken down organic matter in the worm bin. It's much like the material you'd end up with in a typical compost bin, where the original contents break down over time, but with a bit of worm poop mixed in for extra nutrients.
Vermicastings refer to the waste produced by the worms. Pure worm poop, with no additional organic material. Vermicastings are dark brown (almost black) and look like dark, rich, crumbly soil. They contains plenty of nutrition, yet are gentle enough to be used on plants immediately. You can sort the vermicastings from the rest of the contents of your worm bin, or you can simply allow the worms to completely break down the contents of a bin. The worms won't survive long once the bin contains pure worm castings, but it saves you from sorting. Either method is fine.
I hope that answered your question. Thanks again!
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