Learn How to Use Worm Castings in 9 Ways
Worm castings contain beneficial plant nutrients that encourage growth. Finding out how to use worm castings is beneficial for all gardeners! You might be surprised to find out about the multiple benefits offered by worm castings and the multiple ways you can incorporate them into your garden.
What Are Worm Castings?
Perhaps you’ve never heard of worm castings, and you are wondering what they are. Worm castings are a form of organic fertilizer produced from earthworms. The easiest way to think about worm castings is that they are earthworm waste. Basically, you are using worm poop!
Yes, it sounds disgusting, but they aren’t! Worm castings, known as vermicast, are created when earthworms eat through compost. Castings look like small, football-shaped particles. Despite the disgusting thought of using worm poop, the benefits outweigh any grossness. All forms of manure are beneficial!
Benefits of Worm Castings
The benefits of worm castings seem to be never-ending. When you apply them to your garden, you don’t have to worry that they will burn your plants. Worm castings are one of the few animal manures that can be applied fresh without concern. They are safe for your children and pets, containing no harmful toxins or chemicals.
+ Adds micronutrients and minerals to the soil
You might be surprised to learn that worm castings contain over 60 micronutrients such as calcium, magnesium, phosphates, potash, and nitrogen.
Castings also contain manganese, copper, zinc, cobalt and more. These nutrients are available immediately to your plant as soon as you add the castings to the soil. You can feed a 6-inch potted plant for two months with only one tablespoon of worm castings!
+ Acts as a barrier if your soil pH levels are too high or too low
If your soil pH levels are imbalanced, it makes it difficult for plants to absorb the vital nutrients from the soil. Castings allow the plants to continue to take what they need by neutralizing soil and reducing acid-forming carbon.
+ Prevents plant diseases
The humus of worm castings fights off harmful toxins, bacteria, and fungi in the soil. Doing so also helps to prevent dangerous plant diseases that could damage or kill your plants.
+ Fixes heavy metals in organic waste
Worm castings help to prevent plants from absorbing too much of these chemical compounds. Heavy metals can be damaging to your plant’s health.
+ Repels whiteflies, aphids and other pests that like to snack on plants
Castings, applied to the soil, will increase a particular enzyme that actively works to defeat and prevent these insects from destroying your plants.
+ Helps to improve the soil structure and porosity
Worm castings create a better root environment and reduce the denseness of heavier soils.
+ Increases soil moisture retention and reduces erosion
When put into your soil, casting creates mineral clusters that withstand soil compaction and reduce water erosion. Your soil can hold more water, which means that you can water your garden less!
Where Can I Get Worm Castings?
The two common ways to get worm castings are to buy them or make some at home yourself. Many avid gardeners make their worm castings because they are an expensive item to purchase in the stores.
Making them at home is called vermicomposting, and it allows you to have a continuous supply of worm castings! However, purchasing them from your local nursery or online is one less thing you have to do.
Do They Stink?
Considering that worm castings are essentially worm poop, you probably are concerned that they stink. Worm castings are odorless. Yes, you read that correct! The only scent you will detect is a smell similar to soil or earth.
Many other organic fertilizers have an unpleasant scent. However, castings are produced by the bacteria inside of earthworms and become a natural fertilizer. So, just remember that your castings are deodorized and neutralized, with a pH level of 7.
9 Ways to Use Worm Castings in Your Garden
You can find several ways to incorporate worm castings into your garden. No matter the application that you pick, your plants and soil reap the impressive benefits. Pick a few ways that will benefit your garden the most, whether it is a solid fertilizer or an addition to your seed starting mix.
1. Soil Conditioner
The purpose of a soil conditioner is to improve the texture and increase the nutrients available in the soil. Soil conditioners also increase water retention. Worm castings are fantastic for your soil! You can use them to prepare for the next growing season in the fall or prepare for the upcoming. Barren soil can grow the largest plants when fed large helpings of worm castings.
2. Solid Fertilizer
Gardeners love that you never have to worry about how much worm castings you add around your plants. It is usable on flowers, fruit-bearing plants, herbs and vegetable plants. There are several ways that you can use worm castings as a solid fertilizer.
Top Dressing – The easiest way is to use the worm castings as a top dressing. You might guess from the name, but this method is when you just add them to the top of the soil around your plant. You can do this with potted and garden plants.
3. Side Dressings
If you want to use worm castings as a side dressing, there are several options. Using the side dressing method is ideal for those with a sandy soil or plants that are about to flower or fruit, to encourage a growth spurt!
4. Liquid Fertilizer
Liquid fertilizers are easy to use. Compared to solid fertilizer, the liquid is often easier to prepare and apply. It is easier to get an even application. Also, the soil absorbs the nutrients from liquid fertilizer easier.
5. Potting Soil for Indoor Plants
Your houseplants can benefit from castings as well! There are two different methods you can try. You can first add worm castings to your pot or start off with worm castings in your potting soil! Check out the easy how-to steps.
6. Worm Casting Tea
Don’t worry, you don’t have to drink worm casting tea. It is a delicious drink for your plants! The process is simple. Instead of soaking tea leaves in water, you steep worm castings.
7. Seed Germination
Another great way to use worm castings is to add them to your seed starting mix to encourage germination. Research shows us that seedlings, such as tomatoes and cabbages, emerge better with worm casting.
8. Flowering Plants
Worm castings help all plants, not just vegetables! Roses are particularly fond of castings, but perennials also love castings.
9. New And Established Lawns
If you want to give your lawn a boost, add some worm castings! New and established lawns benefit from them. Adding castings helps your lawn’s surface to filter between grass blades an and acts as compost. Your lawn will love the nutrients.
Now You Know How to Use Worm Castings
Now you know how to use worm castings in your garden and property. Worm castings benefit all plants, not just your flowers or vegetable garden. You can spread some around fruit-bearing plants and herbs.
Shrubs and trees soak up the nutrients just as easily. If you decide to pursue vermicomposting, you will have an endless supply of nutrient-dense worm castings that will help your garden thrive.
Are you surprised to see so many benefits and uses for worm castings? If you use worm castings regularly, let us know your favorite method!