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Cathy's Crawly Composters - Vermicomposting

Cathy's Crawly Composters

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GoOrganicGardening.com

June 2008

 

Enriching Your Organic
Garden With Worm Castings

As far as soil renewal is concerned, earthworms are the industrious, busy workers of the soil. Their burrows help loosen and aerate the soil, allowing plants to better able to grow stronger roots. And they feed on microbes and organic matter, which in turns becomes even richer castings. These castings constantly renew the soil, and all organic gardeners know that healthy soil is the key to a successful and bountiful garden.

In vermiculture, the end product is worm castings, which you periodically remove from your worm bin. With more people waking up to the benefits of recycling, reducing their garbage and helping the environment, vermiculture is the perfect solution, even if you live in a condo or apartment. You reduce your waste, you recycle your kitchen scraps, and your reward is handfuls of rich worm castings.

What to Do With These Castings?

Soil Additive

Castings work the same as compost Ė they are a soil additive and conditioner that helps renew and regenerate your soil. If you have a garden, simply work it directly into the soil by raking or sprinkling it. Apply about a quarter inch thickness of castings to garden beds or lawns. Castings will not burn your plants, and according to one study, the level of nutrients in the soil after adding castings remained stable over five years.

Mulch

You can also use castings as a mulch. Spread about a two inch-thick layer inside the drip line of trees, being sure to stay away from the trunk. You should consider using them in an area that is moist, because dry castings can form a hard crust that repels water.

Transplanting Soil

You can also add castings to transplants. When you set out small garden seedlings, place some of the castings directly into the hole that you are placing the seedling in.

Fertilizer Via Worm Tea

How about making 'worm tea?' It makes a great liquid organic fertilizer. Add water to moisten the worm castings, but not enough to drown your worms. Then collect the drainage water from your worm bin. This water has diluted worm castings in it. Mix it with an equal part of water and use it in the garden. Worm tea makes an excellent foliar fertilizer. You will find that plants will grow better and healthier and even more disease-resistant. You can also try treating sick plants with this method, as worm tea is full of beneficial microbes that will combat certain types of bad fungi.

What If I Donít Have a Garden?

A lot of people choose vermiculture because they live in an apartment or condo, and it is a great way to compost indoors, with no odor.

So, what to do with your worm castings? Plenty!

  • Use the castings to side-dress indoor plants
  • Give to a friend who has a garden
  • Sell it by the pound (For charity, of course!)
  • Find your favourite local park and add around plants

By Ena Clewes, professional horticulturalist and writer for Goorganicgardening.com. Learn how to build an organic garden, switch to natural or home-made herbicides and pesticides, and enjoy the beauty of healthy gardening.

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Cathy's Crawly Composters

Bradford, Ontario
Local: (905) 775-9495
Toll Free: 1-888-775-9495
email: cathy@cathyscomposters.com