Worm castings, often called ‘Vermicompost,’ are among the most nutrient-dense fertilizers available to gardeners. As a result, earthworm castings are becoming increasingly common among gardeners, and even more, individuals who grow their veggies are taking an interest in them.
Worm castings are what they sound like, but what do they look like? You can make your own, and you can gather worm castings in various ways.
Adding worm castings to your compost helps the general structure of your soil by aerating it. In addition, worm castings add valuable nutrients to the soil, allowing your plants to grow stronger and produce more fruit.
Earthworm castings are also beneficial for individuals who have a problem with pests such as spider mites and aphids feeding on their plants. So, what exactly are worm castings, and what do you need to know about them?
In our guide, you can learn more about this highly beneficial brown material and how it offers so many beneficial nutrients. By the end, you’ll know what makes worm castings so worthwhile for an organic vegetable garden and how to make worm castings to avoid repeat buying. (Learn How Long Does It Take For Grass Clippings To Decompose)
What Is Worm Castings Good For?
Worm castings make soil increasingly absorbent, allowing plants to get more moisture on a more constant basis and preventing soil from drying out altogether.
Earthworm castings have a variety of uses because they are an excellent source of nutrition for both your soil and your plants. Worm castings are essentially a plant superfood that can benefit your gardening efforts in a variety of ways.
Here’s a few things to know about these water-soluble nutrients.
Worm castings are the greatest since they are a natural approach to improve your garden. Earthworm castings are organic materials rich in microorganisms that significantly increase plant health and yield.
Worm castings not only provide organic soil to your soil, but they also introduce living organic material in the form of microbes.
Even though worm castings are earthworm bioproducts, they do not stink like cow or horse manure.
Earthworm castings are ideal for fertilizing seedlings or indoor house plants because of this odor-free plant nutrition.
Fast-acting Growth Hormones
Auxin, a growth hormone, and a few other hormones are primarily responsible for a plant’s growth. The same hormone, Auxin, can be detected in the mucus produced by earthworms.
As earthworm castings, that mucus is transmitted along with the bio-waste. When earthworm castings are fed to a plant or seedling, Auxin enters the plant’s body and acts as a growth hormone similar to steroids.
Therefore, applying earthworm casting to seed starting mix, new transplants, or reviving a sick plant is helpful.
Do you know that using worm casting goods or vermicompost helps protect from pests like Spider Mites, White Flies, and Aphids? Experts believe that adding earthworm castings to the soil boosts plant synthesis of the ‘Chitinase’ enzyme.
Improves Soil Fertility
Worm castings improve soil structure and the quality of your soil greatly. The CEC, which stands for Cation Exchange Capacity, is used to measure this.
Balance Soil pH
Worm castings also help to raise the pH of the soil. They work as a neutralizer and can dramatically enhance the acidity and condition of your soil. Your worm castings have a pH close to nature, which helps balance the soil in which they are added.
Makes Soil Light and Airy
Worm castings are excellent for aerating the soil in which your plants are grown, which helps to maintain their granular shape. The shape of the castings is similar to that of a football, and this shape helps increase the amount of space available in the soil. More room in the soil provides air pockets, essential for healthy soil. (Read White Spots On Tomato Leaves – What to do)
Worm castings in the soil help retain water. Worm castings behave like a sponge to absorb water. Therefore, they can help your soil absorb more moisture. This not only hydrates your plants but also helps them from drought.
Slow Release Nutrients
Worm castings assist your plants in absorbing and storing water in the soil, as well as supplying rich nutrients. This is because they degrade slowly and provide plants as needed to your plants.
Reduce Soil Erosion
Worm castings are essential for soil maintenance and creating an ideal growing environment for plants. They reduce soil compaction, prevent soil erosion, and improve structure. You will better protect your plants from water and decay if you improve the soil structure.
Is Worm Castings A Worm Poo?
As a bonus, you may collect and use the casts (earthworm poop) as a potent soil amendment. Worm poop and worm wee are rich in nutrients and helpful microbes.
Worm castings are a by-product of earthworm digestion, and the leftover castings are known as Vermicompost.
Worm castings are earthworm excrement, and as earthworms rely on organic materials, their feces enriches the soil. Earthworm castings are football-shaped particles that increase soil aeration and drainage while boosting soil water retention.
Worm castings are rich in enzymes, microorganisms, and plant and animal matter residues. The castings are loaded with plant nutrients.
They are loaded with essential nutrients for plant growth. Zinc, copper, iron, borax, cobalt, nitrogen, and carbon Earthworms must break down manure or artificial fertilizers before plants absorb them.
Is Worm Castings Better Than Compost?
What is worm casting is often asked? Earthworm castings are high in nutrients, including nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium (NPK), iron, calcium, sulfur, and humic acid, and are more beneficial than chemical fertilizers. (Read Our Guide on 15-15-15 Fertilizer)
Unlike some high-nitrogen fertilizers, pure earthworm castings should not shock or burn seedlings or plants. One of their best features is a gentle, slow-release fertilizer, yet it contains more nutrients than bulk compost or organic matter when added to garden soil.
Even with fertilizing soil, there are more benefits for soil and plants.
- Water retention
- Improve soil surface aeration
- Stabilize soil nutrients in garden beds
- No root fertilizer burn
- Improves seed germination
- Disease and pest protection
- Increased healthy plants growth
- Speeds up flower and fruit production
- No smell in potted plants of indoor garden
- Speed up actions in compost bins
How to harvest worm castings
Here are the three ways to harvest castings:
- Migration Method
- Light Relocation
- Hand Sorting
The most straightforward way is to move all worms to one side of the container. Only half the bin should be filled with food waste so you can scoop the worm castings left behind. Then, start adding food to the upper level of a multi-level vermicomposting system. So, only castings remain in the lower tray.
Dump and Sort Method
This method is more messy but still simple. Worms like it chilly, moist, and gloomy. When light is introduced, they begin to flee.
Dump worm bin contents onto a flat surface. Make mounds and watch as the worms will flee into the mound’s lower half to avoid the light.
Remove the tops and sides of the castings. Refill the bin with food scraps and other carbon-rich items.
Sort By Hand
Avoid handling worms or combing through their poo if you are squeamish or require only a few worm castings.
Dump the worm bin contents and hand-pick the worms. Replace the wigglers with new bedding and food leftovers. Only castings remain, ready for the garden or plant pots!
If you want to buy castings, you can get them from such places as Home Depot, Uncle Jim’s Worm Farm, or a local worm farm.
Uses Of Worm Castings
Here are a few more ways how you can use your worm castings.
As a fertilizer
Pure worm castings act as one of nature’s most effective ready-to-use fertilizers to replenish nutrients and can be used instead of other organic materials garden waste creates.
Mix worm castings into a potting soil mix with a 1:3 ratio for a nutrient-rich environment that will release nutrients for seeds to flourish. Add seeds and water, then watch your plants’ growth.
Help new grass grow quicker by sprinkling 10 pounds per 100 square feet of lawn space before adding grass seeds. Then, gently scratch up the ground to mix and water as needed to improve soil aeration for your grass plant roots.
Compost piles can benefit from worm castings’ concentrated microorganisms. When adding greens or browns to traditional piles and bins, add castings—turn and water as required.
Make Worm Tea
Worm tea is created when you add worm castings in unchlorinated water (like rainwater or distilled water. Steeping worm castings releases nutrients into the compost tea and makes fantastic natural fertilizers.
It can also deliver trace elements that boost soil microbiology by adding beneficial bacteria and beneficial microbes to combat protozoa’s fungus and plant diseases.
For more extensive gardens or several houseplants, dilute the tea with 50% water, where you can use worm castings on tomato plants rather than adding soil worm castings.