Vermicompost is an excellent organic amendment and fertilizer that’s full of nutrients. On its part, cocopeat is ideal as an alternative to potting soil, and you can reuse it many times. So, how can you use these two at the same time?
To use vermicompost and cocopeat at the same time, you must make a vermicompost bin and wait a few weeks/months. Then, add cocopeat to your pot. Afterward, you can now add vermicompost to the first few inches of cocopeat. From there, you can use the mixture to grow plants quickly and healthily.
This article will discuss using vermicompost and cocopeat together in greater detail. Be sure to read on if you want to learn more.
What Is Vermicompost?
Before learning how to use vermicompost and cocopeat together, you need to understand what each is all about. So, let’s start with vermicompost.
Vermicompost is worm waste that contains essential nutrients for plants and soil. It’s fully organic and environmentally friendly, an excellent alternative to other fertilizers and soil amendments. However, it takes some time to prepare vermicompost.
When you feed worms food scraps, they produce waste (manure) over time. This manure is helpful in the garden because it’s high in nutrients and helps improve soil conditions. Still, you can’t use any worm for vermicompost, so you’ll likely need to order a specific species online.
The best worms to use for vermicompost are red wigglers. They will eat the food scraps and produce the manure you’re looking for. Once a few weeks or months have passed, you can separate the worms from the vermicompost and add the waste to your soil.
When buying these worms, make sure you’re getting them from a reliable seller. The incorrect species of worms won’t be as effective, and you’ll need to start the process again with new worms.
Now, let’s look at how you can make vermicompost.
Thankfully, making vermicompost is easy. However, it won’t be the most pleasant experience if you’re afraid of worms because you’ll need to handle plenty of them. You also want to consider time – if you’re going to use vermicompost for your garden, you’ll need to get started a few weeks or months before you plan on using it.
Below are some guidelines on how to make vermicompost.
Get a Box or Bin
Firstly, you’ll need a place to keep the worms while they do their job. You’ll also want to ensure the container you use is big enough and contains plenty of small holes for airflow. If your container doesn’t have air holes, make them yourself.
If you’re only planning on making a small amount of vermicompost, you’ll only need a small container. But if you want to make a large batch, you’ll need something bigger. It’s also good to have the container on an elevated surface that allows the bottom to breathe – you want to have adequate airflow on all sides of the container, not just the sides.
Prepare the Container
Once you’ve got the container with air holes, you’ll want to prepare it. It’s not good to throw the worms into the container without bedding. They need bedding to burrow, and for comfort, so they likely won’t survive without it. Plus, the bedding should be lightly damp.
Worms thrive in slightly damp environments, so if the container is too dry, they won’t survive. The most common type of bedding is a newspaper or animal manure, but you can use other kinds of paper and wood. Whatever bedding you use, make sure it’s slightly damp.
Once you’ve filled half the container with the bedding of your choice, you can add in the worms.
Place the Worms in the Container
You want to place enough worms so that they will eat the food you give them. Nevertheless, you don’t want to put too many in the bin. If you use too many, there may not be enough space, or you may need to use more food.
To start, you can use one pound (0.45 kg) of worms for every four square feet of the container. You can increase the number of worms later on if need be.
Feed the Worms
The next important step is to feed the worms in the container – this is how they produce manure. According to the University of Maine, fruit and vegetable scraps are the best things you can feed worms, including peels and cores.
In most cases, it’s okay to feed worms once a week. However, if you notice the food is being eaten relatively quickly, you can feed them more frequently. If you notice there is still food leftover after a week, you can reduce the frequency.
Remove the Vermicompost from the Bin
According to the University of California, you can harvest vermicompost after 3-6 months. At this point, there should be enough manure to cover some or all of your plants, so you should keep a close eye on the container once you hit the 3-month mark.
After separating your vermicompost from the worms, you can reuse the worms for another worm bin.
What Is Cocopeat?
Cocopeat is found in the husks of coconuts and has many uses. Some of its primary uses are as a soil replacement or amendment. Cocopeat doesn’t contain essential plant nutrients, but you can use it with fertilizer for healthy plant growth.
To use cocopeat in a pot, you can fill the pot with it and plant your seeds – you don’t have to mix it with a regular potting mix. However, before using cocopeat, you’ll need to mix it with water to break it up.
You can also mix cocopeat with soil to improve the texture and prevent waterlogging. Another benefit of cocopeat is that it’s long-lasting so that you can reuse it many times. Therefore, it may work out cheaper than buying potting mix.
How To Use Vermicompost and Cocopeat Together
Using vermicompost and cocopeat together is simple, but the exact method will depend on whether you’re using potted plants or standard soil.
Here is how to use vermicompost and cocopeat together for potted plants:
- Place cocopeat in the pot. You can either place cocopeat in the pot alone or mix it with potting soil. You should do this after mixing it with water to loosen it.
- Add the vermicompost into the pot. You can incorporate it into the first few inches of cocopeat.
- Add your seedlings. Once mixed, you can place the seedlings at the top of the vermicompost/cocopeat mixture.
Here is how to use vermicompost and cocopeat together for regular soil (i.e., in the ground):
- Mix the cocopeat with water. Your cocopeat will be solid before you use it, so mixing it in water will help it expand and loosen up.
- Add vermicompost into the cocopeat. Once the cocopeat is the right texture, add the vermicompost. It’s best to use 1-2 parts of vermicompost for every 4 parts of cocopeat.
- Add the mixture to the soil. You can now add this mixture a few inches into the ground and your plants will thrive.
Why Use Vermicompost and Cocopeat at the Same Time?
You should use vermicompost and cocopeat at the same time because they have different properties and nutritional value. While vermicompost contains essential nutrients like phosphorus and nitrogen, cocopeat gives plants a healthy environment to grow.
Cocopeat can help with water retention in the soil, meaning your plants stay hydrated for longer. However, it doesn’t feed plants enough essential nutrients because it’s relatively low in them. Hence, mixing it with vermicompost is the perfect combination.
On top of that, vermicompost and cocopeat are entirely organic and free from chemicals. Therefore, if you want to keep your garden fully organic, you should consider using these two materials simultaneously.
While inorganic materials can be beneficial, they are more likely to cause harm if you overuse them (such as chemical fertilizer).
Using cocopeat and vermicompost together will be beneficial for your plants, and they’re easy to mix. However, you’ll need to give the vermicompost a few weeks/months to develop before you use it.
While cocopeat can amend soil or be used as a soil replacement, vermicompost contains nutrients and can feed plants. Together, they work as a great pairing.
Hopefully, you now know more about vermicompost and cocopeat and understand how to use them together.