Earthworm Friends in the Garden
by Marilyn Pokorney
Earthworms are a gardener`s best friend.
Research has shown that earthworm excrement, also called castings or
vermicompost, improves the aeration, porosity, structure, drainage, and moisture-holding capacity of soil.
Many studies prove that when compared to conventional composts, vermicompost is less variable and much more
stable. Mixing vermicompost into the planting medium essentially eliminated the need for additional fertilizer in
the production of tomato plugs as one example.
Studies show that earthworm castings increase height, stem diameter, enhance root growth, increase dry weight, and
produce more flowers per plant than peat moss.
Redworm castings are the richest and purest humus matter in the world. Humus is believed to aid in the prevention of
harmful plant pathogens, fungi, nematodes and bacteria.
One pound of worms can convert one pound of pig manure into compost in 48 hours!
Worms consume three times their weight a week or more. Red wrigglers are very active, reproduce quickly and consume
their own body weight of waste every 24 hours. Therefore ten pounds of worms will eat ten pounds of waste in 24 hours!
Worm castings provide a rich source of a variety of essential plant nutrients.
Microbial activity in worm castings is 10 to 20 times higher than in the soil and organic matter that the worm ingests.`
How to use worm castings:
When planting vegetable and annuals line the rows and holes with about two inches of castings. About every eight weeks
side dress the plants with one-half cup of castings per plant or one cup per foot of row.
For perennials work one-half cup of castings into the soil in the spring, middle of summer, and early fall.
For pots and hanging baskets add one-half inch castings to the top and water in. Then reapply every eight weeks.
Roses appreciate four cups of castings per plant.
If starting a new lawn add 15 pounds of casting per 100 square feet when sowing. Once established use seven pounds
per 100 square feet.
For more information about vermicompost and castings visit:
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