Utilize the unique benefits of worm castings to enrich your soil and grow a better garden! Here are a few facts about worm castings, plus some tips for using them in your garden…
Organic gardeners know how important compost is for building healthy soil and growing healthy crops. But what about worm castings? Can you use them instead of compost in the garden?
While some people call worm castings “vermicompost,” in fact, they aren’t really compost at all. They’re worm poop!
However, they can also bring some wonderful benefits to your garden.
According to Weed ‘Em And Reap,
Traditional compost is made by tiny bacteria and fungi, which break down the organic matter by dissolving its cell walls and living off the nutrients that get released. Worm castings are poop that has passed through the digestive tract of an animal (earthworm), and they have some really great additional benefits compost doesn’t have. You could think of worm castings as compost on steroids. Worm castings are higher in humus than compost, which helps the soil they are added to hold more air and more water (both really good things for soil life and plants) and helps bind more of the micronutrients in a place where plant roots will be able to take them up. They are also higher in micronutrients than compost is and deliver a much higher level of microbial activity to the soil, all of which translates into higher yields from your plants. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not knocking compost (perish the thought), but worm castings are special! Both are important in a good soil mix.
If you are interested in vermicomposting to collect fresh worm castings for your garden, here is a simple DIY vermicomposter design you can make from a 5-gallon bucket.
However, if you don’t feel like managing a worm composting system, you can still take advantage of some of the marvelous benefits of worm castings. Here’s a super-simple way to get the worms to do the work for you:
If you already have earthworms in your yard and garden soil just let them do all the work. Any organic matter you spread on the surface of the soil will slowly be pulled down and digested by them, so you can get the benefits of worm castings by simply using all your organic wastes including your kitchen scraps as mulch (spread moist scraps under a thick layer of straw or dead leaves to discourage larger scavengers and to avoid making your garden look messy). Sheet mulching (or sheet composting) not only feeds your worms so they make castings for you, it also keeps down weeds, helps conserve moisture, keeps your plants free of splashed dirt, and even reduces the risk of some plant diseases.
Read more about worm castings in the garden at WeedEmAndReap.com…