What Are Worm Castings?
Castings contain a highly active biological mixture of bacteria,
enzymes, remnants of plant matter and animal manure, as well as
earthworm cocoons (while damp). The castings are rich in water-soluble
plant nutrients, and contain more than 50% more humus than what is
normally found in topsoil.
Worm Castings are packed with
minerals that are essential for plant growth, such as concentrated
nitrates, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium and calcium. It also
contains manganese, copper, zinc, cobalt, borax, iron, carbon and
nitrogen. However, the best of all is that these minerals are
immediately available to the plant, without the risk of ever burning
the plant. Remember that animal manure and chemical fertilizers have to
be broken down in the soil before the plant can absorb them.
the organic matter moves through the alimentary canal of the earthworm,
a thin layer of oil is deposited on the castings. This layer erodes
over a period of 2 months. So although the plant nutrients are
immediately available, they are slowly released to last longer. The cocoons
in Worm Castings each contain between 2 and 10 eggs that hatch within 2
weeks. This means that the process of decomposition are continued by
the young earthworms in the soil, provided that the soil is loose, damp
and rich enough in organic matter for the worms to stay alive.
bacteria in the alimentary canal of the earthworm transforms organic
waste to natural fertilizer. The chemical changes that the organic
wastes undergo include deodorizing and neutralizing. This means that
the pH of the castings is 7 (neutral) and the castings are odorless
(they smell like a forest after rain). The worm castings also contain
the bacteria, so the process is continued in the soil, and
microbiological activity is promoted.
What can Worm Castings be used for?
Castings can be used as an ingredient of potting soil (as plant
nutrients) for plants in and around the house. It can also be used as a
planting additive for trees, vegetables, shrubs and flowers. When used
as mulching material, Worm Castings will ensure that the minerals are
absorbed directly into the soil when it is watered. Because Worm
Castings will never burn plants, you can use as much of it as you like.
Benefits of Worm Castings
The humus in the worm castings extracts toxins and harmful fungi and
bacteria from the soil. Worm Castings therefore have the ability to
fight off plant diseases.
The worm castings have the ability to fix heavy metals in organic
waste. This prevents plants from absorbing more of these chemical
compounds than they need. These compounds can then be released later
when the plants need them.
Worm Castings act as a barrier to help plants grow in soil where the pH
levels are too high or too low. They prevent extreme pH levels from
making it impossible for plants to absorb nutrients from the soil.
The humic acid in Worm Castings stimulate plant growth, even in very
low concentrations. The humic acid is in an ionically distributed state
in which it can easily be absorbed by the plant, over and above any
normal mineral nutrients. Humic acid also stimulates the development of
micro flora populations in the soil.
Worm Castings increase the ability of soil to retain water. The worm
castings form aggregates, which are mineral clusters that combine in
such a way that they can withstand water erosion and compaction, and
also increase water retention.
Worm Castings reduce the acid-forming carbon in the soil, and increase
the nitrogen levels in a state that the plant can easily use. Organic
plant wastes usually have a carbon-nitrogen ratio of more than 20 to 1.
Because of this ratio, the nitrogen is unavailable to plants, and the
soil around the organic waste becomes acidic.
How to use Worm Castings:
Use 20 to 30% Worm Castings with sand as an excellent germination mixture. It will also ensure continuous and lush growth for about three months, without you having to add any other plant food.
As a Soil Conditioner:
If you hoe a layer of barren soil, add a layer of Worm Castings and give it some water, you will be surprised at the growth of your first season's plants.
As a Fertilizer:
Sprinkle Worm Castings around the base of plants or lightly dig it in, and then add water. They can also be sprinkled on a large scale with a spreader. Remember: you cannot use too much Worm Castings, it cannot damage your plants.
As a Liquid Fertilizer:
Worm Castings can easily be mixed with water. Use 1 cup Worm Castings for every gallon of water and wait 1 week. This liquid mixture can be used as an excellent fertilizer or leaf foliate spray. It also helps to control insects. Many people prefer this method of application.
We have known for hundreds of years that earthworms are the best way to improve plant growth and to increase plant yield, such as fruit. Earthworm castings are a wonder product of nature. So if you care about your soil, and your plants, then now is the time to get rid of your Miracle Gro and to use this 100% natural product.