Earthworm Castings

March 7, 2006

Earthworm Castings are the excretions left behind by worms after they finish digesting the organic matter that makes up their diet.

The process of creating worm castings is probably the most efficient means of recycling kitchen and yard wastes.

Benefits of Worm Castings in the Garden

More than just a great plant fertilizer, castings are also a terrific soil amendment, plant growth enhancer, and the gardener’s ultimate compost. Earthworm castings are clean, odorless, and can be used indoors and outdoors to provide a boost to all of your plants.

While the castings are concentrated and rich in nitrogen, they are gentle enough to be applied in direct contact to sensitive plant roots without fear of burning. Worm castings also supply magnesium, phosphates, calcium, potassium, and potash, along with a range of micro-nutrients and trace elements.

Worm castings are loaded with beneficial soil microbes and other soil organisms that will help restore life and health to depleted and worn out garden soils.

Using Earthworm Castings

One drawback to using castings is that they can be expensive to purchase is sufficient quantities for use in the garden. A solution to that problem is to buy or construct a worm bin and do your own vermicomposting to produce a supply of valuable earthworm castings.

Indoors, castings can be added to potting soil or mixed into the containers of established houseplants. Outdoors in the garden spread worm castings and incorporate them into the surface soil levels of your raised beds. Castings can also be added to the bottom of the planting hole when setting out transplants, or scratched into the soil surrounding established flowers and vegetables.

Special Applications Indoors and Out

An especially effective use of earthworm castings is as an addition to seed starting mixes used to grow seedlings indoors under lights. The castings will provide a noticeable improvement in the size and growth of vegetable seedlings and transplants.

Another special application for worm castings is as a tea. Worm tea is made by soaking a few tablespoons of castings in a gallon of water overnight. The worm tea can then be strained, diluted, and used to water house and garden plants, or be sprayed onto their leaves as a foliar fertilizer.

However you choose to use earthworm castings, your flowers, vegetables, and houseplants will benefit and respond with additional growth and vigor.

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