All good gardening practices start in the soil, so let me offer you a “soilution” today that will benefit every garden from ornamentals to lawns to veggie patches. Add worm castings! This by-product of vermiculture (worm composting) is the beautiful humus and nutrient-dense “black gold” that will boost any soil, in a safe and family/pet-friendly way. Below are my top 5 reasons to add natural product to your home or community garden.
1)Organic Fertilizer. This safe, non-toxic fertilizer helps create balance in any garden. Castings make macro and micro nutrients available to plants in a slow-release format, which is necessary for every garden.
2)Living Biology. Castings add a host of microbes including beneficial bacteria and fungus to your garden, turning your soil into a living organism which thrives due to these symbiotic relationships.
3)Root Mass Increase. Castings offer an incredible amount of humus which is what makes for good soil structure. This sponge-like material prevents soil compaction, making your garden easier to dig and easier for the roots to thrive and grow.
4)Water Retention. 20% castings to soil volume means you can reduce the amount of water you add by 70%, thanks again to all that natural humus.
5)Prevention of Disease/Pests. Instead of using insecticides, and watching as mysterious diseases take over your garden, try the alternative organic approach of boosting your soil’s microbial activity through adding worm castings. In doing so pests and disease will not be able to establish themselves in your garden. Everyone wins!
To give you a visual example of how powerful worm poop is, let me tell you a story about avocado growing. On the internet, if you type in “how to grow an avocado tree” you will get an array of pictures of avocado pits being suspended over glasses or jars of water using toothpicks to hold them in place. The next picture will show pits sprouting, and the next will show some leaves up top with long roots growing below. My kids and I have tried and tried this experiment, to no avail. The pits end up rotting on our counter top and the water turns all sludgy.
On the other hand, when an avocado pit is put in a worm bin, shortly thereafter, it actually does start to sprout. If this pit is then transferred into a pot with some soil it will grow into a tree. We grew one to quite a large size a few years ago, but then drove it out to the coast to donate to my mom. Below are two pictures, on the left our failed experiment, and on the right a new sprout just coming up that was started in our worm bin.