Contributed by: Bushwhacker
1. What are Earthworm Castings?
Earthworm castings are the material deposited by the earthworm after the material passes through the digestive track of the worm (worm manure)
2. Why Use Earthworm Castings?
With the exception of water and sunlight, nothing could be more natural for your garden than earthworm castings. Not steer manure, not chicken manure, not even fish emulsion is as natural for your garden as earthworm castings! After all, when digging in your garden have you ever found a live cow, chicken, or fish? No, what you do find are live worms. Mother Nature created the mighty worm about 570 million years ago to care for her plant life by caring for the soil. As the earthworm eats its way through the soil, it takes in bits of soil and rotting or decaying plants (organic matter).
And what comes out is the richest food your plants will ever find, yet will not burn a plant! Earthworms have the unique ability to increase the amount of nutrients and minerals in the soil by as much as 10 times the value of the plant debris there. These minerals and nutrients are properly conditioned for the best root growth and lush plant growth - plus it\'s odor free!
3. How Do I Use earthworm Castings?
Earthworm castings are easy to use. This makes an excellent potting mix or mix to plant in the ground:
25% earthworm castings mixed with 75% soil is a common mix.
On established plants, simply sprinkle about 1/4 inch earthworm castings around the plant that is to be fed and fertilized. Work it into the soil lightly. That\'s it! Be sure the earthworm castings you use are a pure, high-quality earthworm castings.
4. Can I Put Worms in My Garden and do the same thing?
Worms in the garden is always a good thing. Simply by tunneling throughout he soil, worms break up compacted earth so that water and air can circulate better. However in the garden, worms can move around making it difficult to get the concentration of pure earthworm castings needed to make a difference. Being able to place pure castings in greater concentrations then found in nature results in vigorous plant growth, improved physical character of soil, increased soil water retention capacity and improved aeration of soil.
Worms in your compost bin is a very good thing. Worms can not only reduce the volume of your waste and organic garbage but turn it into a rich soil amendment called vermicompost (worm compost).
Note: difference between worm compost and earthworm castings:
Earthworm castings come solely from the body of the earthworm. Earthworm compost will contain some earthworm castings in it, it also contains droppings from the multitude of other creatures that call your compost bin home, plus bits and pieces of organic matter in various stages of decomposition.
5. Are All Earthworm Castings the Same?
It's true all earthworm castings come out of the body of the earthworm. However, depending what the earthworm is fed will determine the quality of the castings. For example, if worms are fed only one ingredient, say lettuce, they can only process the nutrients and minerals that are found in lettuce. This is as opposed to worms that are fed a complete, well-balanced diet.
Today, new feeding and farming methods are producing pure, high-quality, well-balanced earthworm castings, which is bagged and sold through retail outlets.