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Student Research Projects

An initial test of vermicompost as a soil amendment

Student Meagan Cunningham
Faculty Mentor(s) Dr. Philip Rock
Department Biology

Abstract

Vermicomposting is the use of certain species of annelid worms to render organic waste (primarily vegetable scraps and high cellulosic material) into a nutrient-rich soil amendment. In this trial study, vermicompost from the Wesleyan Worm Farm was mixed in various proportions (5%, 10% and 25%) with local soil and tomato plants (Roma variety) were grown in five-gallon containers. The growth of the plants and the yield of fruit were compared with untreated soil. Each soil condition was tested in quadruplicate.

The average yield of fruit was greatest with 10% and 25% vermicompost, respectively, however there was so much variation between plants with the same treatment that the yields were not statistically different from untreated soil. Several factors confounded the implementation of this study, including: an extremely hot summer, the loss of several plants and ‘poaching’ of tomatoes from the study site.

 

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