Earthworm Castings better known as worm castings are the excretions deposited by worms after they digest organic material. This process is called vermicomposting and its the most efficient way of reducing kitchen,yard waste and or animal waste. The most common worm used to produce earthworm castings are the red wiggler. They can eat up to 25% their weight in food a day.
Benefits of Earthworm Castings
Earthworm castings are an excellent soil amendment and plant growth enhancer by improving the soil microbial activity, soil structure, tilth, conservation of water and improve overall health of plants. They are odorless, clean and can be used in any environment to enhance the growth of your plants.
Earthworm castings do not burn your plants and can be applied at the root zone or by foliar application.
Worm castings have been proven effective way to reduce damage by harmful insects such as the white fly, aphids, spider mites or any pest that feeds on the plant by increasing the production of enzymes that are offensive to insect.
Worm castings have millions of beneficial microbes and soil organisms which help your plants absorb the micro and macro nutrients in your soil. These microbes and soil organisms help restore and revitalize your soil.
Worm castings are a great source of calcium, magnesium, nitrogen, phosphates and potash.
Using Earthworm Castings
Earthworm castings can be used as early as when you start your seeds indoors. It will enhance the size and growth of your seedlings. The ideal ratio is 1 part worm castings to 4 parts soil.
Earthworm castings can be applied to existing plants soil either by top dressing or mixing in with soil. Top dressing would let the nutrients soak down when you water. Should add worm castings every 2-3 months.
You can also make worm tea with worm castings. Worm tea is made by soaking 2-3 tablespoons of worm castings in oxygenated water overnight. Apply worm tea by foliar spray.
Insect has many benefits mentioned in this post How Does Insect Frass Benefit Your Soil and Your Crops. Below is the recommend application rate of insect frass.
ROW CROPS / RAISED BEDS – Add 1lb per 20 sq. ft. Work frass into the soil
TRANSPLANTING – Add a small amount of Frass to your transplant to root development.
HYDRO – Add 2 Cups per 30 Gallons water
SOIL / COCO – Pre-Mix 1 Cup per Cubic Foot of loose soil/coco prior to planting (less than 1% by volume)
ROOT DRENCH / TOP DRESS – Add ½ Cup Frass per Gallon water and Root Drench, or Sprinkle around plant and water in thoroughly.
FOLIAR SPRAY – Add 1 TBSP per Gallon water, shake and let frass settle for 30 minutes, then apply.
COMPOST TEA – Add 1 Cup Frass per 15 Gallons of Tea to achieve Fungal Dominance.
KILL FUNGUS GNATS – Add ½ Cup per Gallon water, shake and let frass settle for 30 minutes, then Root Drench
Interested in Insect Frass
Insect frass is insect poop and is an organic fertilizer and soil amendment. It is high in Chitin which increases plants auto immune system and work against root rot and nematodes. Insect frass chitin is plant based which is more easily digested by plants than other forms of chitin such as those derived from crab meal or crustacean meal. Insect frass will not add insects to your plants nor will harm beneficial insects. Insect frass is a vegan.
Interested in Insect Frass
The best worms for composting are Eisenia fetida. They are known as red wiggler worm or red worms. They are the best because:
- They eat 25-35% of their body weight a day
- They can tolerate a wide range of Ph 6-8. 7 being ideal
- They can be kept indoor or outside
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- We guarantee live delivery. Any issue with order, let us know within 24hrs
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How many composting worms to buy?
The amount you need is determined by the amount of food scrapes your family creates and the size of your worm bin. For more information regarding this read this blog post: How Many Worms to Start a Worm Bin
You can feed all kinds of organic material to your composting worm, but most have had success with vegetables, fruit waste, tea leaves and coffee ground. Egg shells add grit and calcium which regulates pH and adds grit in the worms diet. The egg shells should be grind up in blender or pulverized with a rolling pin. Bread should be moistened first. Whatever food you add to your worm composting bin, should be finely chopped or blended up in as small of particles as possible so they break down faster.
What should I not use in my worm composting bin?
- Meat - Dairy
-Bones - Citrus Fruit
-Grease - Human Feces
- Pet Feces
A worm composting bin is a easy process to start. You can start worm composting bin in a matter of 30 minutes and start composting your kitchen waste.
Begin with 6 inches of bedding a combination of shredded paper, cardboard, leaves, and or coco coir.
Add about 1 lb of worms per square feet. There are 3 main commercially available compost worms are red wigglers, european night crawlers and african night crawlers. The easiest to start with is the red wiggler and most beginners should start here.
Apply 1 inch layer of feedstock either loose food scraps or a small amount of ground up food scraps on top of bedding. Freeze food scraps to cut on down on pest eggs. Get a blender and blend food scraps helps in getting the worms to be able to process food faster and to reduce fruit flys. Check food stock after a couple days to make sure food has been eaten before adding more. Do Not Over Feed. Its better to under feed then over
Cover food scraps with more bedding such as shredded paper, cardboard, leaves andor coco coir which also helps reduce fruit flys and other annoying critters
If you are wanting a faster way to start worm composting bin, check out our worm composting bin kits which comes with bedding and food to get you started.
You should prepare your food scrapes by freezing food waste for 24 hours- 48 hours. This help break down the cell walls and food waste decomposes faster. You can the blend the food waste up in a blender. The last step may cut down on odors and fruit flies. It is best to rotate your food waste deposit (Pocket Feeding) in different locations in your worm bin to minimize souring your bedding and over feeding.
To feed your worms, add some dry bedding and then pour the food mixture over the worm bedding. Add more bedding after feeding to cut done on fruit fly infestation. Worms will eat roughly 25-33% of body weight a day. You should feed your worms once or twice a week and make sure not overfeed them. You should check previous location and make sure 80% of food is gone before placing more food in a different location. Over feeding can cause your bin to heat up and or kill your worms.
Adding food waste can affect the moisture level of the bedding. If bedding appears to dry, spritz the bedding with water. If too much moisture add some dry newspaper or cardboard and leave top off worm bin.
To prevent odors from your worm bin, limit movement of bedding during feeding. Bury your food waste in different locations each time and monitoring moisture will ensure an odorless worm bin.