Are you in the process of trying to make your own potting mix? If so, figuring out just the right mixture can be a bit challenging. There are so many different additives and supplements out there that it can be very difficult to know what to actually put in the mix.
Then when you decide on the ingredients for the mix, what percentage of each should you use? It’s enough to almost make you want to buy a pre-made potting mix and forget about trying to do it yourself.
Before you do that, however, I’d like to make a suggestion; add worm castings. Why should you include worm castings in your potting mix and how much should you use?
PS. If you are looking for a special dirt mix to grow weed, you can read about it here.
Why Include Worm Castings in Your Potting Mix?
Worm castings is one of the most versatile and amazing things that you can put in your potting soil. It’s like a plant superfood that will do so many different things for your plants. When you mix it in with other substances, it can have an extremely powerful effect on the growth and the overall health of your plants and the soil.
Minerals and Nutrients
Mixing in worm castings is kind of like giving yourself a powerful multivitamin. It’s got a little bit of so many different things in there. Things like nitrogen, potassium, magnesium, calcium, and nematodes are found in the castings, among other things.
One nice thing about worm castings is that all of the minerals and nutrients are easily absorbed and utilized by the plants. You don’t have to worry about any of the nutrients and minerals going to waste. Instead, the plant sucks them right up and puts them to use quickly.
Are you familiar with how good bacteria is critically important to your health? Having a diverse gut biome affects so many different things in the human body.
Although you may be somewhat familiar with this concept, many people overlook it when it comes to trying to promote their own health. They focus on things like vitamins and exercise, while neglecting the importance of boosting their own microbiome. Many people find that when they make an effort to improve their gut bacteria, their overall health improves in so many ways.
The same principle applies with plants. The gut bacteria from the worm comes out in their castings. When those castings are applied to the soil, the bacteria forms the perfect growing environment for plants of all kinds. When that kind of bacteria surrounds a seed or a plant, it boosts the growth tremendously, and provides numerous health benefits.
Many people buying fertilizer and soil supplements make the same mistake that people do with their gut bacteria. They look for things that are popular like specific vitamins and neglect how important the microbes are.
For example, many gardeners look only for supplements with the highest nitrogen content. While nitrogen can help, the beneficial microbes in worm castings work even better. You’ll be amazed what the beneficial microbes in worm castings will do for your potting soil.
Aeration and Moisture Regulation
Mixing worm castings into the potting mix is great because it also provides aeration and moisture retention. When you can get water and oxygen to the roots of your plants faster and more regularly, the chances of them growing increase exponentially. The reason that worm castings help with aeration is because of their physical structure. They look almost like tiny little footballs. These “footballs” can’t be packed down like regular dirt. This means that when they’re mixed in with other things, it keeps the mixture from packing and leaves little gaps for oxygen to get through to the roots.
The castings also work like miniature smart sponges. When you water your plants, they’ll absorb some of it and hang onto it. Then when your plant is running low on water, the worm castings will release it and give it to the roots. By using worm castings, you can actually reduce the number of times that you have to water your plants overall.
How Much Should You Use?
The amount of worm castings that you use can vary depending on your budget and what you want to accomplish. As a general rule of thumb, many growers will use about ⅓ to ⅕ worm castings and the rest something else. This is a good threshold to be at. However, you can also use more if you’d like.
You could actually use 100% worm castings if you wanted to. You’ll still get the benefits of the worm castings if you stick to the 20-33% ratio. But don’t worry about putting too much worm castings into the mix. They can’t burn the plants and it will likely only improve the condition of the plants if you go with a slightly higher percentage.