Individuals new to gardening often confuse worm casting with compost and soil. The difference is that worm castings are far more nutritious and healthier for the soil and plants. But, what exactly are worm castings? Commonly known as worm manure or vermicast, worm castings contain humus and the end products excreted or left by earthworms. These substances make the composition of worm castings extremely nutritious and great for plants. If you are new to the world of gardening, you should know more about worm castings and integrate them into your practice. In this guide, you will learn everything about worm castings and their application.
Benefits of Worm Castings
1. Increased Nitrogen Levels
After every cycle of sowing and harvesting plants, the nitrogen levels in the soil depreciate with time. With worm castings, you can expect higher levels of nitrogen in the soil to enhance plant growth. This phenomenon also lowers down the carbon content in the soil, which can otherwise be acidic and degrade the soil’s pH level. If you notice a heightened nitrogen level that is much more than the standard recommendation, you can add carbon to balance it out.
2. Easy Absorption of Nutrients
Since worm castings are easily broken down by the microorganisms that thrive within, they are readily absorbed by plants. This also helps the plants grow in a healthier and safer environment, thereby conditioning the soil as well. With several useful nutrients such as magnesium, phosphorus, calcium, nitrates, zinc, manganese, cobalt, nitrates, iron, and borax, your plants get the best components to grow.
3. No Odor
When feeding the plants and soil with fertilizers and manure, you may worry about the odor that will follow. However, with worm castings, you get no odor or bad smell. Their soft texture and earthy composition eliminate the foul smell and make them more convenient to use. The smell you get from worm castings resembles moist earth and is much better as compared to manure, insecticides, and fertilizers. In case the worm bin produces a foul smell or unbearable odor, you should change the composition or prepare a new batch.
4. Remove Harmful Toxins and Mites
The exoskeleton of insects is broken down by an enzyme known as chitinase, which is made by earthworms. In turn, this enzyme helps repel harmful bugs and insects such as mites, aphids, whiteflies, and thrips. Furthermore, any kind of bacteria and fungi that can be extremely harmful to the plants and soil are absorbed by the worm castings. The best part about worm castings is that you can never go overboard. Since this natural component keeps your soil and plants from burning, you can use it with liberty. However, it doesn’t mean that you should not pay attention to the amount of nutrition your plants need. Feeding the perfect number of nutrients to your plant and soil is key to a healthy harvest.
How to Use Worm Castings
The method of using worm castings is similar to using manure and compost. Use around ¼ or ½ cup of worm castings per 100 square feet to feed flower beds. Make sure that they seep in at least in the top few layers of the soil for the plants to absorb the nutrients. To use them for houseplants, measure your container and mix ¼ cup in the soil for every 6 inches. You can also take help from this site to gain insights on buying the best worm castings based on your needs. Since the amount of worm casting you use also matters a lot, pay attention to the type of plant you wish to grow and the amount of nutrition it will need.
How to Make Worm Castings
If you do not want to buy worm castings, you can prepare them in your garden. Not only will you achieve a higher quality of manure, but you can also prepare a bigger batch that can last longer. This will also help you save a lot of money and feed nutritious food to your crops. Add layers of soil and moist newspapers in compost bins with a 12-inch depth. Next, add compost, food waste, worms, and leaves. If you do not wish to go through the hassle of making your own worm castings, you can easily find them in your local gardening store.
If you are still unsure and ambiguous regarding the proper way to use worm castings, consult your local gardener or take tips from nursery owners. Once you get a hang of it, using worm castings will be much easier than you anticipated. As mentioned, beginners in the world of gardening should definitely get their hands on worm castings as they will help them produce a better and high-quality harvest at the end of the season.