Vermicast or worm castings are an organic soil conditioner and a 100% natural fertilizer.
If you prefer to use a natural organic fertilizer rather than a chemical fertilizer, then vermicast will be a great addition to your soil conditioners or soil supplementation.
For those who do not want to have their own worm farm, vermicast and earthworm casting tea can be purchased online or from your local nursery. Remember to purchase certified organic vermicast, which has no fillers.
What Is The Use Of Vermicast?
Vermiscastings, which are worm poop just like manure is cow poop. It has an earthy odor, is good for the environment, and safe for your children and pets to be around. The decomposition of waste materials using earthworms is known as vermicomposting.
Vermicast is used as a supplement to condition the soil. As well as the NPK levels (nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium) of 5.3.3., vermicast also has additional natural growth hormones, trace elements, microbes, and beneficial bacteria. They are rich in iron, sulfur and calcium.
Send your soil away for testing or test your soil at home.
These nutrients are readily available for your plants and have the added benefit of being slow releasing.
Castings contain rich microbiological colonies that help fight soil-borne plant diseases and repel insects.
Using Worm Castings As Seed Starting Mix
Grow all your plants in a natural organic environment giving them the best start, especially your vegetable seeds.
- Mix 2 parts coco coir with one part worm castings for a soilless mix.
- Place the mix in the seed starting tray.
- Drop a couple of seeds into each seed tray compartment.
- Keep moist.
Once the seedlings are ready to plant out in your garden, dig a hole for the seedling, sprinkle some worm castings into the hole and place the plant in the hole. The castings will protect and encourage root growth.
Give your veggies an application every second week during the growing season.
Using Worm Castings As A Soil Amendment
To build organic matter in the soil, sprinkle 10lbs (4.5kg) per 100ft2 (10m2). This application will boost microorganisms and condition the soil.
When using worm castings as a mulch, water well and the minerals will be absorbed into the soil.
Apply in spring or early summer, then again in fall.
Using Worm Castings To Top Dress Established Plants
Spread a handful around the plants 1-2inches (2.5-5cm) thick, then water well.
Or add vermicast to the compost when applying a new layer.
Using Worm Castings For Lawns
New lawns - Apply 10lbs (4.5kg) per 100ft2 (10m2) worked lightly into the topsoil. Mix in grass seeds and water well.
Established lawns - Distribute as a top dressing 10lbs (4.5kg) per 100ft2 (10m2).
Earthworm Casting Tea
Worm casting tea is a concentrated liquid organic fertilizer made from earthworm castings that can be used directly on the soil or as a foliar feed for your plants.
Worm tea contains dense populations of beneficial bacteria and fungi, made available to plants for their long-term nutritional needs.
Follow the instructions on the worm tea container for the dilution.
Worm tea can be costly so try making your own from the worm castings.
Soak 2 cups vermicast earthworm castings in 5 gallons (20 liters) water for 24 - 48 hours.
Add 2 Tablespoons of molasses as a food source for the bacteria.
Stir every 5 - 7 hours and use it all immediately.
Benefits of Using Worm Castings In Your Garden
One of the main benefits of worm castings or vermicast is that it conditions and feeds the soil.
Adding vermicast to the soil will build up the soil so that the microorganisms do their work to feed the plant.
Feed The Soil And It Will Feed The Plants
Vermicast also helps with aeration, which is ideal for clay soil.
Vermicast has humic acid, which frees up the soil's nutrients to make them immediately available for the plants.
Many worm castings have eggs mixed in, which will increase the number of earthworms in your garden. The earthworms will feed on organic matter like dead roots and leaves present in the soil. They then recycle the nutrients they receive from the organic matter back into the soil - free fertilizer.
Increase The Number Of Earthworms In Your Garden
An earthworm eats its weight every day and produces its weight in castings every day. So increasing their population will benefit your garden without costing a cent.
Encourage earthworms to multiply in your garden by adding lots of organic material to the soil's surface and keep digging or tiling to a minimum.
Keep chemical and synthetic fertilizers away from your soil as some of these inorganic fertilizers will kill the earthworms.
Earthworms and their castings are an important part of the soil ecosystem.
In no-dig gardening, the earthworms do the job for you by aerating the soil.
Earthworm castings are a gardener's secret weapon.
They are an all-organic soil amendment and are the best soil improvers.
All the nutrients from the castings are absorbed by the plant right away and never burn the plant.