Vermiculite is used extensively as a growing medium. Most commonly it is used in compost formulations, usually in combination with peat. Ideal conditions for plant growth are provided by vermiculite / peat compost formulations. The presence of vermiculite particles in the compost aids aeration, improves moisture retention and promotes the steady release of added fertilizers while the vermiculite itself contributes potassium, magnesium and a number of minor elements. The production of healthy young plants and the stimulation of root growth are done by the ideal combination of the air / water ratios for vermiculite / peat composts. The vermiculite is sterile when processed. It will need no further treatment before incorporation into composts if stored correctly. Vermiculite can also be used as a carrier and extender for fertilizer, pesticides and herbicides. A further use is in a ground form for encapsulating seeds. Vermiculite is free flowing, soft, sterile and absorbent. This means it has found a role as a bearing and carrying medium for a range of nutrients such as fat concentrates, vitamin preparations and molasses. The use of vermiculite gives a greater volume yield and accommodates a high liquid uptake while retaining good handling characteristics.