It’s not often that we dedicate an entire article to a single organic substance, but when it comes to worm castings, they simply deserve the spotlight!
I wish we had known the true power of them years ago. Ever since we first started using the castings, I am simply stunned at how one tiny substance can do so much good for gardens, flowerbeds, hanging baskets, containers and more.
When it comes to the best ways to build healthy, fertile soil naturally, worm castings rank right up there with compost and cover crops.
Worm castings are essentially dried worm manure. And they are loaded with all kinds of life nurturing and life giving minerals and organic material. That includes but is not limited to nitrogen, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and potassium.
As worms work through the soil, they leave behind a perfectly balanced and processed blend of organic nutrients know as castings. Although they perform beautifully as a gentle, yet powerful fertilizer for plants, they also do so much more!
Worm castings absorb and hold tremendously more moisture than typical garden soil. This helps plants retain valuable moisture at the root zone, where they need it most. The natural light and airy nature of the castings also helps to let the soil take in nutrients better. It doesn’t stop there. Worm castings aid in balancing soil PH while helping to remove bacteria and toxins from the soil. They also stimulate root growth and make it easier for plants to take up nutrients found in the existing soil.
But for us, the simple proof is in the results. Over the course of last year’s growing season, we trialed them in our seed trays, growing rows and planters. The difference was ridiculously obvious!
In our seed trays, the seedlings that were started with worm castings mixed in the soil were much larger and thicker. The same happened in our growing rows and containers.
This year, we blended worm castings into all of our seed starting mix, and the results are amazing. Our seedlings are all at record sizes. In fact, I am a little worried they may need to be transplanted again before they can safely go in the garden past the frost date. All I can say is that we are now believers in how well it works.
So, how do you get them, and how do you use them? Worm castings can be purchased ( See : Wiggle Worm Castings), or you can go totally DIY and create your own worm bins for both worm castings and worm compost. Up till now, we have always purchased them. But we love them so much, we want to make our own worm bins to create our own.
Here is how we use them to power all of our plantings:
How To Use Worm Castings To Power Your Garden, Flowerbeds And Hanging Baskets
Transplanting Seedlings / Garden Vegetables / Flowers
We have always used a combination of compost, crushed egg shells and coffee grounds in our planting holes. It works incredibly well to help plants get off to a great start.
But last year, when we added in a couple of teaspoons of worm castings along with the compost / egg shell / coffee ground mix, our plants simply took off.
They are the perfect slow release fertilizer.
Worm castings are also excellent to use when planting seed crops like lettuce, green beans, corn and peas. As the seed germinates under the ground, the castings help hold moisture around the seed to speed germination. They also provide readily available nutrients to the seedling once it breaks through the soil. Plant seeds as you normally would, then sprinkle the castings on top before covering with soil. It’s that easy!
Raised Beds / Containers
Worm castings are a great way to help recharge and energize soil in containers, hanging baskets and raised beds. When preparing beds for seeding, mix in approximately a cup of castings for every 5 gallon bucket of soil used. For hanging baskets, we mix 1/2 cup in the soil, and then use liquid worm casting fertilizer (see below) during the season to keep them strong.
Worm Casting Tea / Liquid Fertilizer
If you are looking for a liquid fertilizer to boost hanging baskets, potted plants, or plants in your garden, worm castings again answer the call!
To make, mix 1/2 to 3/4 cups of worm castings with 2 gallons of water. Then let sit and steep for 24 hours. The result is an incredible liquid fertilizer that works wonders for vegetables and flowering plants. We water with 1/4 of a gallon around the root zone of each plant.
One thing is for sure, no matter what, we don’t want to ever head into a planting season again without worm castings!
May the power of worm castings be with you and your garden as well! Happy Gardening, Jim and Mary. We hope you enjoyed this week’s gardening article! If you would like to receive our DIY, Gardening and Recipe articles each week, you can sign up to follow the blog via email in the right hand column above, “Like” us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter. This article may contain affiliate links.