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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.
Marilyn Pokorney is a freelance writer of science, nature,animals and the environment. She also loves crafts, gardening, and reading.