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Why Worm Castings Can Be a Gardener’s Best Friend
Vermicomposting is becoming pretty common among gardeners in-the-know. And for good reason. Not only can you recycle some of the waste from your kitchen, but the benefits of worm castings are that they are excellent fertilizers. That’s not just information from people who like composting worms; it’s a basic fact that their benefits are extraordinary.
Worm castings is a more polite way to say worm poop. And basically, as a worm tunnels through the soil, they will eat decaying organic material, digest it, and transform it into nutritionally rich fertilizer for your lawn and garden. But not only will they increase the fertility of your soil, they will also tunnel, creating a natural irrigation system for your soil. But that's another worm casting benefit to be discussed during another time.
Let’s take a look at the various benefits of worm castings. And discover what this helpful, organic fertilizer can do for your own garden.
More Worm Castings means More Nutrients!
Most of us don’t think of our soil as a huge mass of chemicals and microfauna. But that’s what it is. One of the most important parts of the soil is undoubtedly the micronutrients. Plants use these in their metabolic processes.
Castings contain over 60 different important micronutrients which are vital for your plants to grow properly. You’ll find that with the regular, proper addition of castings to the soil, your plants will grow in better shape. This is more than most manures. Plus, it doesn't smell as strong as manure.
Among these important nutrients are phosphorous, calcium, and potassium. Worms produce nutrients in large amounts for their weight and that’s absolutely fantastic for any kind of plant you might be thinking of growing.
But that's just the tip of the iceberg. The technical, organic chemistry is much richer, yielding greater benefits of worm castings.
- Worm castings can fight off plant disease by utilizing the humus to extract toxins and harmful fungi.
Soils with high pH levels can harm your plants. And worm castings act as a barrier.
Worm castings contain humic acid. This acid can encourage plant growth, and is ionically distributed through the soil. The means that roots can easily absorb it, which is great because it's a nutrient that you'd want your plants to absorb easily.
Worm castings are very dense and dark soil. Which indicates that they can retain moisture better than most soils, with the added benefit of those great nutrients. But it won't compact or erode, creating a superb environment for plants.
Worm Castings increase the nitrogen levels in the soil. Organic plant wastes usually have a carbon-nitrogen ratio of more than 20 to 1. Because of this ratio, the nitrogen is unavailable to plants, and the soil around the organic waste becomes acidic.
And They're Packed With Microbes!
The aforementioned microfauna are single celled organisms which perform a huge number of important functions within your soil. These microbes are simply amazing for your soil and they perform a huge amount of functions that you wouldn’t normally think about.
One of the biggest functions is that they convert the nutrients already in the soil into bio-fuel for your plants. With these microbes present, you’re not only adding more nutrients to your soil with the casting, you’re actually making the existing soil even better for them.
This little-thought about function in the soil is simply another amazing benefit of worm castings.
It might sound kind of gross, but the mucus present in the worm’s manure is actually a huge thing for you and your plants. It will make sure that all of the nutrients you just added aren’t washed away with the first watering of your garden.
This can be something of a problem with more conventional soils and nothing else can quite replicate it since it’s a direct function of the worm’s eating and passing organic matter. What this means for you and your plants? More nutrients of course.
A side-effect of this is also that your soil will hold water better. That’s a whole lot of benefits for a little amount of mucus.
Less Heavy Metals!
While this isn’t really desirable in the world of music, the addition of worm manure can actually make for less heavy metals in the end products of your plants. Now, don’t make the mistake of assuming that these heavy metals are actually removed from the soil.
Instead, these toxic materials become fixed in a state that your plants can’t use. While you probably still shouldn’t eat the dirt, it makes for less heavy metals in your plants. This is quite important for poor soil in which you’re growing things to eat. Which is just another benefit of worm castings.
Don't Feed Your Red Worms These Horrible Things!
It may be just run-of-the-mill habit to toss all your food scraps into the compost. And this is normally fine if you're allowing your compost to break down naturally. And it's even fine when you're using black soldier fly larva to break down meats.
But if you're composting with red wigglers, then don't feed any meats or dairy products to the bin. These products will attract the black soldier fly larva, or any other types of fly's, and they will take over the bin. The worms will evacuate, and you won't be left with the benefits of worm castings. So be cautious with what you place into your worm bin.
These benefits of worm castings are absolutely enormous. If you haven’t already seriously thought about it, give the worms a shot. What you’ll end up with is healthier soil, better food grown in your garden, and an all-around increase of health for your plants. It’s simple, organic, and of such an amazing benefit it’s hard to believe that you wouldn’t give worm manure a shot.