How to Use Worm Castings in a Garden

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How To Add Worm Castings Into A Garden

If you’re looking for ways to improve your garden’s health and the quality of your veggies, look no further than worm castings. Worm castings are a cheap, easy way to promote soil health and grow better plants. We’ve put together the “what’s”, the “why’s”, and the “how’s” to help you improve your garden’s health right here. Let’s dig in.

What Are Worm Castings?

To put it in the simplest possible terms, worm castings is just another way of saying “worm poop”. Castings are the products of the worm’s digestive process. They’re also commonly called vermicast, worm manure, or worm humus. They’re usually sold in one to ten-pound bags, and you can find them at your local garden store. But that doesn’t really tell us much about what they do.

Worm castings are a light, fluffy medium for promoting plant growth in just about every way you can imagine. They contain a fantastic community of microbes that increase the health of your soil and plants. Think of it kind of like the microbes in your gut, and adding worm castings to your soil is like drinking a healthy probiotic shake.

Worm castings also have other properties that help your soil’s health. The castings themselves are made of football-shaped particulates. These pieces create pockets and gaps in the soil. This improves the soil’s structure and helps create an ideal balance of air and water for promoting plant life.

Why Should I Use Worm Castings?

Do you like giant veggies? How about doing minimal work to get them? Worm castings effectively act as a replacement to fertilizer. They promote the long-term health of your soil, adding microbes, increasing the aeration and drainage, and providing structure and nutrients for your plants. They act as a single source of plant nutrients for your garden and only have to be replenished once per season.

They also repel plant diseases and pests like aphids and spider mites. So they act as both fertilizer and pest repellent, and are completely organic. Because they don’t use harsh chemicals to do these jobs, they don’t burn your plants like other fertilizers. When applying worm castings in the garden you don’t have to use anywhere near as much as you would with manure. This means less work, which means less strain on your back. And last of all, they don’t stink! Worm castings are a win-win situation for you and your plants.

How To Use Worm Castings

For Seedlings

Introducing worm castings to your soil works best with seedlings. When starting new seeds, add a 2:1 mix of worm castings and coco coir or peat moss into your starting trays. Pre-moisten the mixture and add seeds. Seeds growing in a mix of worm castings and coco coir take off like rockets. Worm castings promote higher survivorship in the seedling stage because they give your seedlings everything they need to thrive.

When transferring seedlings to a garden, you can add worm castings to help them along. Just dig your hole like normal, add a small scoop of worm castings, and put your seedlings in on top. This will promote seedling survival and get them started rooting faster.

For Plants Already In Soil

If you already have plants going in single planters, you can use worm castings to improve the soil health. You can do this by sprinkling worm castings over the soil around the base of the plant. Use 1-3 tbsp of worm castings per plant, sprinkling and lightly mixing it into the soil with a hand rake.

On a larger scale, you can use worm castings to condition your whole garden. Just use about a pound per square foot for veggies, or half that for flowers. Incorporate it into the soil bed with a hand rake and water. Repeat this process once per season, and you’re done. Like we mentioned above, worm castings won’t burn your plants. This means you can add them when the plants are flowering and fruiting without risking damage to your crops and flowers.

Once you have your soil conditioned with worm castings, composting worms will be attracted to the soil. In future years, when digging in your soil beds, you’ll notice lots and lots more worms. As you probably know, this is a great sign. The worms living in your garden will begin producing their own castings. So when you add worm castings again, you can get away with using fewer of them.

The Gift That Keeps On Giving

Rather than using harsh chemicals to repel pests and introduce nutrients into your garden, you can use a a single organic tool. Worm castings are the perfect solution to producing healthier plants, better crops, and happier soil. Once you introduce them into your garden, your plants will thank you forever.

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