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Worm Castings: How to Make and Use

Forget your Scotts and Bayer chemical fertilisers it’s time to get dirty with your soil and leave the environment alone. If you’ve ever dug up a healthy sod of soil the first thing you notice is – movement! 

You have just disturbed some very willing volunteers in your garden who don’t understand the phrase “Smoko break!” Not only have you disrupted their efforts but you’ve exposed their nakedness – a shame far greater than revealing your own.


Reasons Why Worms and Worm Castings are Beneficial to Your Garden 

Benefits of Worm Castings

1. Worm Castings are all natural

Worm castings are basically worm crap and as natural as you like. They’re odour-free and pH neutral so working with them isn’t going to reduce your efforts to a nauseous malcontent.

You have two options here: the first is to encourage the multiplication of your own earthworms and leave them to do the work for you. The second option is to use a worm farm. It’s a little more effort but you have far more control as well.

2. You don’t have to spread worm castings

Ok. If you decided to set up your own worm composting farm you may have to but if you encourage growth of your own earthworm population they do it all for you. Plus, they aerate the soil while their casting of their inhibitions.

If you want to increase your earthworm population here’s how you do it, according to Seeds of Change;

"For earthworms to thrive, they need an ample supply of organic matter, adequate moisture, and oxygen. Additions of compost or well-rotted manure to the soil and thick mulches of shredded leaves, grass clippings, and other organic materials will encourage worm activity by providing food and habitat.

In soils that have been severely depleted or heavily treated with chemical fertilisers and pesticides it may take many years to build healthy populations. If good conditions are present for worms and none at all are spotted for a year or two, it might help to bring in a can full of worms from a neighbour’s garden for “breeding stock.”

3. Worm castings help reduce the need to buy fertiliser

Because you’re encouraging growth of your own worm stocks you lessen the need to purchase more fertiliser for your garden. You can produce liquid fertiliser by placing a generous handful or two of the worm castings into a 9 litre bucket and then apply to your plants, during the growing season, once per week.

Worm castings can also be used when planting trees and shrubs, preparing containers and hanging baskets and even preparing your vegie patch for the next season’s plants.

How to Use Worm Castings

4. Worm castings are a result of your rubbish

If you had already been convinced that composting was a good thing then telling you that worm castings takes this to a whole new level won’t be difficult. Worms are incredible recyclers of your waste food scraps and animal manures.

Apparently, one pound of worms can convert one pound of pig manure into compost in 48 hours!

If you’re wondering what to do when your neighbour’s dog poops on your lawn – try thanking them for the contribution they’re making to your garden and add the poop to your worm composting farm. Your red wigglers will have it composted in no time.

5. Worms aerate your soil

As I mentioned before, not only do worms produce your fertiliser via worm castings, they also aerate the soil. It’s like having a 24 hour gardener tilling the soil and enriching it. And, because they keep the soil so healthy there is less chance for soil-borne diseases and pests to become a problem.

6. You don’t have to buy the worms

If you have been composting using a diy compost bin system you will have noticed that worms just turn up all by themselves. The right food source, correct temperature and they’ll head for your garden as if you had placed a neon “Wanted” sign on your front gate.

So, if you’re into low-maintenance gardening you can’t go past worms and their castings. To use anything else means more effort on so many levels that your efforts required in the garden will become high maintenance.

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Nathan Schwartz

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