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The Benefits of Worm Castings on Garden Soil & Plants

Updated: June 27 2022

seedling

What Are Worm Castings?

If you are looking for a safer and better fertilizer than the chemical-based products made today, you might want to use worm castings. Also known as vermicompost, it is perfect for supplementing your garden soil and plants. 

Castings from composting worms have been recognized as a natural fertilizer that is packed with a lot of nutrients and minerals. Worm castings contain minerals such as concentrated nitrates, potassium, magnesium, calcium, and phosphorus. 

Because it is purely organic fertilizer, worm castings can increase a plant’s yield, protect both soil and plants from diseases, and help the soil retain moisture. If you want a constant supply of worm castings then you should definitely consider starting your own little worm farm with red worms.

worm crawling around on the soil

Red worms live off the organic wastes that are fed to them. You can even supply them with household scraps that have been collected from your kitchen or yard. The vermicomposting process allows worms to immediately break down the decaying remains into a richer form of organic fertilizer (worm casting fertilizer). 

Because the organic material has already been digested by the worms, plant nutrient absorption is immediate; unlike chemical fertilizers and animal compost which need to be broken down before plants can absorb them.

Earthworm Castings for Amazing Plant Growth

Water-soluble plant nutrients, good bacteria, enzymes, organic scraps, and days-old animal compost are common components of vermicompost. Worm’s mucus and mineral clusters that the worms leave behind, also known as aggregates, help increase the soil’s capacity to retain water and nutrients.

The soil is also kept healthy because earthworm compost hosts more beneficial microbes into the system. Earthworm castings as plant food keep the soil healthy by removing damaging organisms like fungus and bacteria. 

Like the classic movie line “if you build it, they will come”, the moist environment that comes from having worm compost in your garden will attract even more worms into the system. The more worms there are in your garden, the more fertile it will be and the more you will get to enjoy the worm castings’ benefits.

Uncle Jim’s worm castings for plants

Worm castings are beneficial in a lot of ways, making it a great additive for your plants and promoting better soil structure. When the soil is healthy, your plants will be able to gain more from it and the soil will be able to provide what the plants need. 

A healthy soil base that is free of diseases and harmful pesticides will be able to keep the plants rooted in it healthy while also protecting them from potential ailments. 

Organic worm castings can also be used to repel pests. So if you want to start reaping the many benefits of worm castings, purchase a worm bin and start your very own worm farm today! 

If you are not ready to start worm farming then we got you covered with our very own “black gold”.

Making Worm Castings

Worm tea

(Source: pinterest)

The numerous benefits gained from adding worm castings into your soil have been demonstrated time and again. But the question you are asking now is, “How do I actually make soil worm castings?” Uncle Jim can help you with that.

Earthworm castings are essentially worm poop that is produced naturally during the vermicomposting process. When your worms feed on organic matter from the kitchen, their waste produces worm castings.

Our vermicomposting for beginners guide lays out all you need to know about vermiculture so you can successfully create and maintain a worm farm that you can regularly harvest worm castings from. 

How to Harvest Worm Castings

harvesting worm castings
(Source: pinterest)

The nutrient-rich black gold must be harvested on a regular basis not only to provide organic fertilizer for your plants, but also to keep your red wigglers healthy. When the bedding has turned into a darker color with the consistency of soil, it’s time to harvest.

Here are some ways you can harvest worm castings: 

  • Worm Relocation: Worms tend to relocate where the food is. If you push the uncomposted scraps to one side, the worms will be drawn towards it and will leave their castings for you to pick out and harvest.
  • Hand Harvest: This method is more laborious and only suitable for those who prefer a slower pace. You can either pick out a few at a time or empty the tray and sift through it to collect the castings. After that, simply replace everything and add more scraps.
  • Screen Compost: This method sifts the contents of the worm bin through a screen, easily separating the worms and other components from the finished compost.

Here is a more in-depth guide on how to harvest worm castings.

Frequently Asked Questions 

What is Worm Tea?

Worm casting tea (worm tea) is created by steeping worm castings in water. It is an excellent method for increasing microbiological activity. Worm castings, a porous bag, a bucket, and dechlorinated water are all you need.

Are Worm Castings Better than Compost?

Both worm castings and regular compost contain all of the necessary nutrients for fighting plant diseases, improving soil aeration, and not burning plants like chemical fertilizers. The primary difference between the two is the time it takes for the plant to absorb the nutrients. 

Because the worms have already digested the organic matter, the absorption of beneficial nutrients is almost immediate when using worm castings. Regular compost, on the other hand, requires time to decompose before being absorbed.

Uncle Jim’s has earthworms for sale! We take great care in packing these beloved creatures so that they arrive alive and in one piece from our farm to your home.

 

13 comments on “The Benefits of Worm Castings on Garden Soil & Plants

  • I’ve bought worms the past 3 years and each year they have just disappeared by summer’s end. I live in the upper West desert area in Arizona and have a lot of gopher problems. I use the vibrator sticks to help keep them out of my flower and garden areas, could the vibrations be affecting the worms also? Please help.

    Reply
  • rene taypoc says:

    worm activity can be distracted from vibrations but if only few hours in a day it will be fine.. if you want to propagate your worms check twice a week if moisture condition is ok. never leave it dry or they locate for better places and if they cant, they will just die.. keep feeding with degredable or decaying matters, (left over,peelings, and uprooted weeds that will decay).

    Reply
  • Great article on the benefits of worm castings!
    I can personally say that what you state in the article is very true, I have been using my own in house worm castings for 4 or 5 years now front seed starting to gardening throughout the season. I see healthier plant starts, Healthier plant growth including longevity and increased yields by using the castings in the garden during the growing season. I have even used them to repair dead spots in my lawn that nothing else worked on. Great article!

    Reply
  • Chris Potter says:

    I am starting a big garden and I’m going to buy your worms, and was wondering for my soil what can I add so that the worms can have food but not hurt my plants?

    Reply
  • These natural fertilizers are very helpful to plants. Thank you for sharing this article. Really helpful and informative. Hope to read more from you.

    Reply
    • Hello David!

      We would not recommend that you add them to the worm bin. There are no studies on this but it is not worth taking the chance since the Desert Rose does contain toxins.

      Reply
  • I’m trying to make my garden nicer instead of using manure, do you think worms would be better fertilizer?

    Reply
  • I want to become a gardener, I think I should use manure for fertilizer because I don’t have worms. Is that okay?

    Reply
  • Hi! I am starting a garden, and right now i’m using my cows manure as fertilizer, but I saw that worms are better fertilizer, and wanted to try silt fencing and worms, but what type of worms are best?

    Reply
    • Uncle Jim says:

      Hello Maria;

      We recommend that you add the European Night Crawler for in the ground or raised bed gardens. They are a hardy worm that can live off of the nutrients in the soil and burrow deeper which helps to protect them from the elements. We recommend that you add 5-10 per square surface foot of soil.

      Uncle Jim’s Worm Farm

      Reply
  • Lorraine Mosby says:

    To my dismay, I almost cried but held back the tears. I tried to to make a large worm casting bin out of those large iron containers sold at Home Depot. I had a friend help me set it up.I do believe that that bin became too hot. I will stick to my 5 gallon bucket in my 4by20 raised bed garden. My worms all died!. Now I will make the large container into another large raised bed garden.I plan to put three more 5 gallon buckets in other 4by20 feet garden. (2 buckets each in the two 4’by20′ raised planters I had built three years ago.)(SIGH….) Thank you for all your help and I will be buying more products and some more worms in the near future.

    Reply

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