Earthworm Friends in the Garden

Things You Should Know About Gardening

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:

    About the author:
    Author: Marilyn Pokorney
    Freelance writer of science, nature, animals and the
    Also loves crafts, gardening, and reading.

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