Understanding Nature’s Secret Weapon
Worm castings, also known as vermicompost, are a type of organic fertilizer made from the excrement of earthworms. Considered more effective than synthetic fertilizers, worm castings contain a diverse range of microorganisms that can help to improve soil health and fertility. These microorganisms help to break down organic matter, making nutrients more available to plants. Worm castings also help to improve soil structure, making it more porous and better able to retain moisture. This can lead to better water retention, which can be especially beneficial in dry or drought-prone areas.
A deeper dive into the benefits of worm castings over other types of soil additives and fertilizers, include:
Worm castings are odorless and Non-toxic. No need for personal protective equipment and your neighbors will be as happy as your plants!
Higher Nutrient Value
- Nutrient cycling provides essential nutrients necessary fungi, bacteria, nematodes / protozoa, nutrient cycling occurs as the microbes break down nutrients into the form necessary for plant absorption.
- Nutrients are slow-release –The mucus that cover the castings (which happens inside the worm’s digestive tract and contains enzymes and bacteria) is what allows this “time release” effect, ensuring continual uptake of nutrients by plants over an extended time period up to several months.
- Worm castings have an NPK rating of 1-0-0 because the slow-release value of the nutrients does not count for an NPK rating
- Synthetic fertilizers are rated for use by their NPK value: nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. This is a means of rating synthetic fertilizers for their uses.
- Nitrogen is connected to the foliage of the plant. Plants with sufficient nitrogen will experience high rates of photosynthesis and typically exhibit vigorous plant growth and development (i.e., how big and bushy the plant and leaves will grow). The risks of a high-nitrogen fertilizer mixture include increasing the soil's mineral salts; excessive elemental nitrogen takes water away from the plant while leaving the salts behind. As a result,the leaves take on a burnt look from dehydration caused in the plant and soil.
- Gardeners not familiar with worm castings may assume their NPK ratings looks as compared to synthetic fertilizers, however—they boost soil nutrients in biological ways that synthetic fertilizers simply cannot.
- Improved soil structure and aeration -- Due to the physical structure of the castings. Worm castings are extremely difficult to pack down like regular dirt. This provides the added benefit that oxygen can make its way through the soil to the roots of plants which improves growth. Less compact soil also makes it easier for roots to expand deeper and wider, increasing their access to additional nutrients and water.
- Reduced erosion – Worm castings enhancement of soil structure can help to reduce erosion by binding soil particles together, creating a more stable surface.
- Improved Water Retention – Worm castings naturally retain water and moisture which subsequently can reduce the amount of water needed as soils have a better chance of holding onto essential water.
- Preliminary and on-going research suggests worm castings impact on soil quality helps reduce greenhouse gases like CO2, CH4 and N2O by sequestering carbon in the soil.
- Worm castings are chemical-free, contain no artificial ingredients. Lush Farms Worm Castings are also OMRI Listed for Organic Use,
- Neutral PH level
No Heavy Metals
- One of the big problems that gardeners and farmers are dealing with is high concentrations of heavy metals in the soil and in fertilizers.
- Worms a have the ability to absorb heavy metals like copper, lead, and cadmium from soil. This means that by the time they produce castings, they're heavy metal free. This reduces the likelihood that metals will make it into food sources grown in worm castings.
Will Not Burn Plants
- Common with synthetic fertilizers is that they are too high in nitrogen. This makes it easy to burn the roots of your plants if you put too much on; worm castings will never burn plants.
- Studies have showed that crops grown in worm castings produce 25% more yield on average.
- Overall worm castings are a natural way to improve soil health and fertility, with proper application rates, there are no disadvantages of utilizing worm castings