Effects of Soil Quality Enhancement on Pollinator-Plant Interactions
Psyche Journal of Entomology
A group of noteworthy scientists in North Carolina has shown that vermicompost helps pollinators do their thing. A trial was set up with Boston Pickler cucumbers (Cucumis sativus) grown in a commercially available potting soil, one set of plants was amended with vermicompost (at 1/3 volume) and one without (fed synthetic nutrients). The radical researchers then watched how bumblebees (Bombus impatiens) responded to the two different sets of plants.
It turns out, plants amended with vermicompost: 1. Increased visit length of the bumblebees (tastier nectar?) 2. Reduced time to first discovery (more fragrant flowers?) 3. Bumblebees that fed on vermicompost amended flowers had larger ovaries (indicates higher nutrition quality in pollen) 4. Pollen from the vermicompost grown flowers had higher protein content. 5. Sugar content in the nectar of vermicompost fed flowers was slightly higher.
These results indicate that not only does using vermicompost produce higher quality plants, but also helps to increase the health and activity of our precious pollinators. You can do your part by using vermicompost/worm castings in your garden through amending soil or by using it as part of your compost tea recipe. If the worms only knew how important they are.
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