Worm castings are kind of like the “Swiss Army Knife” of plant food. Although they are fantastic in a garden, they're so versatile and flexible that they've quickly worked their way into many different uses.
Gardeners have known the benefits of having worms in the soil for thousands of years. While some soils naturally are chock full of worms on their own, other areas don't have as many. Earthworm castings are ideal for gardeners because of the fertilizing effects that they can provide, without the potentially harmful chemicals found in traditional fertilizers. This makes them very popular in organic gardens, in particular.
Another big benefit that draws organic gardeners to castings is that they can avoid pesticides. Castings have built-in pest-resistant properties due to an oily material that is placed on the castings by the worm's digestive tract. When seeds are planted in soil rich in castings, this pest-resistance is then transferred to the plant.
For homeowners with house plants, worm castings are perfect! In many smaller house plants, as little as a teaspoon of castings is enough to boost plant growth. This makes them ideal for raised beds, flowers, and any other plants around the house. For this scale, a bag of castings can get you through the season with flying colors.
Looking for chemical-free pest protection all season? Sprinkle some around your plant every few weeks and enjoy all your plants...bug free!
Greenhouses make it possible for gardeners and farmers to grow plants in many different climates and seasons. While they give you a lot of flexibility in the growing process, they present their own set of challenges.
One of the most common problems when growing plants in a greenhouse is disease. Certain pathogens thrive on indoor plants and growers often turn to chemicals to eliminate them.
If you're trying to grow plants in an organic fashion, chemicals aren't really an option though. For this situation, worm castings provide the ideal solution. According to research done by Cornell University, worm castings release “a substance that interferes with the chemical signaling between the host and the pathogen.”
When planting inside a greenhouse, earthworm castings can provide you with a type of “disease insurance” against whatever might make its way inside. On top of that, you still get all of the other plant boosting benefits of the organic worm's manure.
Are you embarrassed by your lawn when you drive through the neighborhood? Does it have bare spots or patches of weeds dispersed throughout? If your yard isn't everything you want it to be, worm castings can help significantly. The nice thing about this solution is that you can utilize the castings regardless of what stage your yard is in.
If you're starting a new yard for the first time, you can really get the earthworm castings mixed in with the soil and the grass seed. At this stage, it usually only takes about 10 lbs of castings for every 100 square feet of grass that you're planting.
If your yard is already established and you just can't stand to look at it anymore, you can improve it with castings. In this situation, top dressing the yard with worm castings can be done at a rate of about 5 lbs for every 100 square feet.
Farmers and large-scale agricultural operations are turning to worm castings in droves. They love the combination of a fertilizing product and pesticide in one, as well as the increased yields that castings can provide. In addition to increasing the crop yields, farmers are also able to use less water due to worm castings ability to absorb and hold water until crops need it.
On a large scale such as this, worm castings are shipped by the ton or by the truckload to fill the needs of the grower. While it may appear to be more expensive by the ton than other fertilizers, it is often less expensive overall. The combination of a fertilizer, natural pesticide, and yield-increasing capabilities tilts the scales in favor of worm castings in most situations.