Of course, we all know that earthworms are very beneficial in a garden. They aerate the soil. They make channels in the soil which improve both absorption of water and drainage.
Did you know that earthworms have a much greater impact on the soil?
The waste left behind by worms, called worm castings or vermicompost, has many beneficial effects on the soil and the plants that grow in the soil. The worm castings are good for:
- Supplying organic matter to the soil.
- Helping the soil retain moisture.
- Reducing the density of soil.
- Helping the soil to retain nutrients longer.
- Aiding the growth of microbes in the soil.
- Supplying beneficial microorganisms to the soil and plants.
- Allowing the plants to utilize nutrients more effectively.
Because of these properties, worm castings make a good soil amendment in flower and vegetable gardens. Actually, the worm castings help make “living soil”, the basis for producing healthy, disease-resistant, pest-repellent plants!
Here are ways that worm castings may be used:
- As an additive when planting in the garden – Put ½ to 1 cup worm castings in the hole as the plant is set out.
- As an additive when planting potted plants – Make a mix of 10-20% castings with potting soil to use with potted plants.
- As a medium for germinating seeds – Make a mix of 10-20% castings with seed starting mix or line your furrow with castings as you plant in the garden.
- As an amendment in your garden – Apply 1-2” on your garden, then till or dig thoroughly into the soil.
- As a side dressing for annuals and perennials – Mix castings into the soil around your plants at the drip line of the plant and cover with mulch.
- As a tea for plants – Mix castings in a 5-10% ratio with water, steep overnight, and then either water or spray on plants. You may leave the castings loose or put in a tea bag.