Using Organic Worm Castings: How To Harvest Worm Castings For Your Garden

Using Organic Worm Castings: How To Harvest Worm Castings For Your Garden

By: Nikki Tilley, Author of The Bulb-o-licious Garden

Adding worm castings manure to the soil aerates and improves its overall structure while providing beneficial nutrients to plants. They are also effective for repelling many pests that feed on plants, such as aphids and spider mites. Below we will explain what worm castings are and how to make worm castings.

What are Worm Castings?

Worm castings are an organic form of fertilizer produced from earthworms. Also known as vermicast, worm castings manure is essentially earthworm waste, otherwise known as worm poo. As these creatures eat through compost, their waste creates an optimal soil enricher. Worm castings resemble football-shaped particles that improve soil aeration and drainage, as well as increase water retention in the soil.

Can You Use Worm Castings for Plants?

You betcha! Organic worm castings are excellent for plants. They contain all the essential nutrients that plants need in addition to enriching the soil in which the plants are grown. Not only can this fertilizer be used on nearly any type of plant, it can also be used directly on plants without burning them. Worm castings manure can be applied as top dressing, side dressing, or worked into the soil.

How to Make Worm Castings

Making worm castings, or vermicomposting, is easy. Worm bins or boxes can be purchased or constructed and come in various sizes and styles. However, when making bins for this task, they should be shallow, between 8 and 12 inches (20-30 cm.) in depth, with drainage holes in the bottom. If they are too deep, they may become problematic with odors. Also, smaller bins work better in the home, fitting just beneath the sink or other similar area.

When making a worm castings bin, layer the bottom with sand and strips of moist newspaper. Then, add compost, manure, or leaf litter and another layer of moist newspaper strips and soil. Add some worms and food, such as kitchen scraps or garden waste.

How to Harvest Worm Castings

There are different methods for harvesting worm castings. One of the most popular is the dump and sort method. Simply lay out a sheet of plastic or newspaper and empty out the contents of the worm bin. Collect the worms and add them to a fresh vermicompost bin, then use the leftover castings on your plants.

Another method involves moving the worm castings to one side of the bin while adding new bedding to the other side. Put fresh food on this side and within a couple of weeks, the worms should migrate over. Remove the castings. In some cases, harvesting worm castings can involve the use of alternate bins as well.

Using organic worm castings in the garden is an excellent way to produce healthy soil and plants.

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The Biggest Secret To Vegetable & Flower Power – Using Worm Castings!

Yes, using worm castings really is one of the biggest and best secrets of all time when it comes to growing amazingly healthy and productive plants. Period!

Worm castings are quite simply the most powerful, incredible, plant-energizing fertilizer & soil conditioner around. Yes, even more than compost – which, of course, is pretty special in its own right.

We use worm castings in our potting soil, and as a liquid fertilizer on our hanging basket and container plants. The results are almost unbelievable.

Worm castings are easy to use everywhere, and on any type of plant. That includes in the vegetable garden and in flowerbeds. And on hanging baskets, potted plants and containers, and shrubs and trees.

Best of all, castings are 100 percent safe, natural and completely organic.

All natural worm castings are a powerful blend of nutrients. And they can be used in a variety of methods to power plants.

Here is a look at just exactly what they are, and how using worm castings can be a great way to growing healthier, more productive plants.

What Are Worm Castings – And How Do They Work?

Worm castings are the dried manure of worms. Unlike the manure of chickens, horses, cows or rabbits, castings are ready to use immediately.

As worms move through soil, they chew and digest tiny organisms and bits of organic material. Those materials are then ground down in their digestive system. It exits as a perfect blend of organic nutrients.

As worms digest soil, they leave behind worm manure or castings.

Worm castings contain all kinds of powerful organic material and minerals. Minerals such as calcium, nitrogen, phosphorous, potassium and magnesium. All of which, coincidentally, are critical nutrients needed for plants to grow strong and healthy.

How To Use Worm Castings

As you will see below in detail, we use worm castings in a variety of ways and methods. We mix dry castings in our seed starting soil and potting soil. And we mix them into planting holes for vegetable plants, flowers, shrubs, bushes and trees too.

But it doesn’t end there. By soaking the castings in water, it creates an incredible liquid fertilizer. One that helps grow bigger and more productive containers plants and hanging baskets. (See : How To Make Your Own Natural Liquid Fertilizer)

The ingredient that made all of the difference – worm castings! Worm castings can be mixed directly into the soil, or soaked in water to create a powerful liquid fertilizer.

Although you can raise and harvest worm castings with a homemade “worm-farm” set up, they can also be readily purchased. The key when purchasing is to make sure you are getting 100% castings.

There are many knock-off products that contain mostly fillers, with just a fraction of worm castings. But it is the all-natural, 100 percent pure castings that work like no other. Product Links : 100% Worm Castings 30lb. Bag – 100% Castings 15lb. Bag

Here is an in-depth look at how to use worm castings all throughout the landscape:

Using Worm Castings – The Where & How

Worm castings are perfect for powering up seedlings and transplants.

For Seedlings – We mix worm castings into our seed starting soil at a rate 1 cup of castings for every 1 cup of potting soil.

The slow release of nutrients is perfect for young seedlings to get off to a strong, healthy start. See : How To Create The Perfect Potting Soil

For Vegetable & Flower Transplants – When transplanting vegetable plants and flowers into the soil, we use a quarter cup of castings mixed into every planting hole.

Mixing in castings with vegetable and flower transplants provides lasting nutrients for plants as they grow.

We also sprinkle a few tablespoons mixed into the soil around the surface of the plant. This acts as a slow release fertilizer every time it rains, or you water.

Baskets & Containers

Hanging Baskets – If you are creating your own hanging baskets, mix in 1/2 of cup of castings in the potting soil at planting time.

If purchasing pre-planted baskets, sprinkle in a quarter cup of castings on top of the soil. As you water, or as it rains, the nutrients leach down into the plant’s roots to provide big power.

All of our container plants are regularly fed liquid worm tea from castings. It develops lush, productive containers that bloom all season long.

Re-apply ever month to keep baskets looking great all season long.

Container Plantings – Much like hanging baskets, mix in a 1/2 cup of castings to the soil in your containers. Once a month, add a quarter cup of castings to the top of the soil.

Liquid Compost Tea – As mentioned earlier in the article, you can create an incredible all-natural homemade “miracle growing liquid fertilizer” with castings.

To create, mix 1/2 to 3/4 cups of castings with 2 gallons of water. Let the solution soak for 24 hours.

You can then use the solution to fertilize vegetable plants, flowerbeds, hanging baskets, containers and more. For vegetable plants, we apply 1/4 gallon to each root zone when fertilizing.

For containers and hanging baskets, we water with the solution every few weeks. You will be shocked at the power it provides to your plants.

Perennials – When planting, transplanting, or splitting and dividing perennials, mix in a quarter cup of castings to each new planting hole.

Castings are a great addition when planting perennials as well.

Shrubs and Trees – Castings are excellent for planting shrubs and trees too! For traditional 1 gallon containers, mix in 1 cup of castings when planting.

Here is to using worm castings to power your plants to new heights this year!

Pros and cons of worm castings as marijuana fertilizer

Worm castings have been used as fertilizer for a variety of plants growing needs such as farming. While used as a cannabis fertilizer, it can have both merits and demerits like other types of fertilizers. Below are the pros and cons of utilizing worm castings as marijuana fertilizer.

5 Pros

  1. Worm castings make soil conditions favorable for marijuana growth. Castings alter PH levels in the soil, giving it moderate levels that favor the growth of marijuana plants.
  2. Worm manure enriches the soil with essential nutrients, microorganism and microfibers needed to grow potent cannabis. Cannabis strains grown using worm castings have high cannabinoid and THC profile.
  3. The rich organic matter present in worm castings are crucial for healthy roots. Castings have long been associated with lush, cannabis plants.
  4. Worm castings prevent the soil from losing nitrogen as opposed to some of the chemical fertilizers used for cannabis growing. Instead, these castings have nitrogen-fixing bacteria which enhance proper root growth in marijuana plants.
  5. Worm manure isn’t affected by temperature. The fertilizer is perfect to use during cold weather. It can withstand cold temperatures without losing its effectiveness.

4 Cons

  1. Making worm manure takes time. On average, it takes 90 days to create this manure. Making the manure is also labor-intensive
  2. Worm castings are more expensive than chemical fertilizers on average.
  3. The manure is sustainable only when produced in small amounts. Large scale cannabis growers can’t rely on the manure. It would take years for these growers to make enough manure got all the cannabis plants.
  4. Castings produce harmful greenhouse gases while decomposing. Some harmful gases associated with castings include methane and nitrous oxide.

Because the biggest problem with worm castings is the high cost, we will teach you cheap ways to make your own worm castings.

Earthworm vs Red Wiggler Worm Castings– What’s the Difference?

Castings from earthworms and red wigglers are both important for soil and plant health. Both their castings produce the same soil and plant benefits for the most part, but the two worms have entirely different functions.

Red wigglers are best for composting scraps, while earthworms primarily consume soil. Earthworms also aerate dirt as they crawl deep into the ground, which is important for plant growth.

Red wigglers are a type of earthworm, so it’s easy to confuse them. A full comparison of earthworms and red wigglers is found below.

Earth WormsRed Wigglers
reddish brown in color, largerred-purplish hue, smaller
consumes primarily soilconsumes food/organic waste
burrows up to six feethangs closer to surface
prefers cool temperaturescan tolerate some warmth

In summary, red wigglers are best suited for compost bins. A pound of these worms will consume about half a pound of food per day.

Red wigglers are also the optimal composting choice because of their higher heat tolerance. Heat is produced as organic material is broken down, which cause earthworms to burrow underground. On the other hand, red wigglers tend to hang around the surface to munch on organic waste.

How to Use Worm Castings

Follow these instructions for mixing worm castings with soil:

Mixing with Potting Soil – The ratio is 1:1. For every cup of casting, use one cup of potting soil for seedlings. For mature plants, you can use the same ratio or slightly less.

Transplants and regular planting – For veggies and perennials, use one quarter of castings to be put into the planting hole.

Shrubs and trees – For every planting hole, mix with the soil a cup of castings. Do not simply put the castings at the bottom of the hole for that will discourage rooting. Mix the castings with dirt first, and then put the mixture along the circumference of the hole.

More on How to Make a Worm Farm

For more on worm bins and other tips check out this video with Clint. His tutorial covers a number of good tips he’s learned from direct experience, like Shannon. The best classroom is hands-on!

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Watch the video: The Absolute Easiest Way To Harvest Worm Castings For Your Garden!!!