Worm castings are a natural and organic soil amendment that can be used to improve the health of your plants.
These castings contain micronutrients, beneficial microorganisms, water retention properties, and more.
They are produced by earthworms, which break down decomposing organic matter in the soil to create nutrient-dense castings.
In this article, we will discuss how worm castings can help when growing cannabis and other plants, their production process, the benefits of using them in your cannabis soil mix, and differences between worm castings and vermicompost.
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What are Worm Castings?
Worm castings, also known as vermicast or “worm poop” is the waste material that is produced by earthworms as they digest organic matter. This material contains nutrients like nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium which makes it an effective fertilizer for any type of plant – but especially cannabis plants which require high levels of these essential nutrients to grow well.
How Are Worm Castings Produced?
To produce worm castings, earthworms feed on decomposing organic matter like kitchen scraps or yard waste in a special container called a vermicomposter. As they consume this material they break it down into smaller pieces that are then digested inside their bodies before being released as rich black granules known as “castings” – these contain valuable nutrients for plants to use for growth and development.
Benefits Of Using Worm Castings
There are several benefits associated with using worm castings over other types of fertilizers:
- Worm castings are high in micronutrients like nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium which helps provide necessary nutrition for healthy plant growth and development
- Due to its high microbiological content worm casting can protect soils from diseases which may otherwise harm crops
- Because worm casting contains humic acid it helps bind particles together creating a better structure for water retention in soils
- Studies have shown that using worm casting can lead to increased yields of certain crops compared to those without it
- Being completely natural and organic makes worm casting an ideal choice for those looking for an eco-friendly way to fertilize their garden
Difference Between Worm Castings And Vermicompost
Vermicompost is slightly different from worm castings in that it is a mixture of both decomposed materials (compost) along with live microorganisms that aid in the breakdown process.
In contrast, only earthworm excretions (castings) make up a true batch of pure worm casting – no compost included!
This means that while both products offer similar beneficial properties there are some subtle yet important differences between them.
For example, vermicompost will typically have higher concentrations of bacteria while pure casts will usually have more fungi present within them – both elements playing important roles in plant health!
How To Make Worm Castings At Home
It’s actually quite easy – all you need is a container filled with bedding material such as shredded newspaper strips or coconut coir (if you want something longer lasting), along with lots of food scraps from your kitchen like fruits & vegetables skins/peels etc., some worms such as red wigglers or European nightcrawlers, etc. And lastly water as needed – keep everything damp but not too wet! Then simply let nature take its course! It will take about 6 weeks before you start seeing any noticeable results but eventually your homemade casts should be ready for use!
Amending Your Soil With Worm Castings
When amending your potting soil with worm castings it’s best to mix them into the topsoil rather than applying them directly onto plants or seedlings – this ensures that they get distributed evenly throughout the entire area being treated.
Start by mixing one part casts with three parts soil then gently work the two together until they form an even blend – add more casts if needed until desired consistency has been reached! You can also add other amendments such as compost or manure if desired; just remember though that too much can cause roots problems so try not go overboard here.
Side Dressing With Worm Castings
For best results when side dressing with worm castings you should ensure that there’s an even layer applied around each individual plant – this ensures maximum absorption and prevents any potential runoff from occurring afterwards. Simply sprinkle lightly around each base then pat down gently so that the particles settle into place-be sure not to use too much though as excess amounts may suffocate seedlings or young transplants before they have time to establish themselves properly!