If you’ve been hanging around nurseries and garden centers over the last few years, you’ve probably seen the growing availability of earthworm castings, but why? Earthworm castings have become more widely available because more people are discovering the various benefits of adding them to your soil. In fact, worm castings are the best material you can add!
But what makes them so special? Spoiler alert: the worms.
When worms digest organic materials they refine them. During the digestion process, nutrients, minerals, and trace elements are reduced to their base form. Once the process is complete, the castings are a neutral pH of 7.0.
Here are some reasons we recommend incorporating worm castings into your soil:
Improved absorbency: With worm castings in your soil you won’t have to worry about moistures levels. The castings will make your soil more absorbent so the moisture level stays consistent. Throughout the production process, the worms secrete beneficial bacteria and microbes, which means you’ll end up with healthier soil. Castings also have humic acid, which improves nutrient absorption.
Odorless: Many organic gardeners use worm castings because they don’t smell as strong as manure from other creatures. In fact, they smell like forest soil.
Fight off diseases: The humus (not to be confused with the Mediterranean dip made from chickpeas) in worm castings is quite extraordinary. In fact, the humus has the ability to extract toxins, harmful bacteria, and fungi from the soil, which means you won’t have to worry as much about your plants becoming diseased.
Neutral territory: Earthworm castings will become a barrier in your soil. They will help plants grow even if the pH levels of the soil are too high. Even if your soil has extreme pH levels, adding castings will allow your plants to absorb the soil’s nutrients.
Combat heavy metals: Worm castings are powerful because they can actually fix the heavy metals found in organic waste. When these heavy metals are no longer a problem, your plants will absorb more of the nutrients they need.
Improved growth: We mentioned the humic acid found in earthworm castings earlier because it’s a really big deal. Not only does it help with nutrient absorption, but it also encourages your plants to grow. Even in very low concentrations, humic acid will encourage improved plant growth, which means you’ll see big results come harvest time.
Reduced acid: As an avid gardener, you’re highly aware of the effect nitrogen can have on your plants. An abundance of nitrogen in your soil means there are more acid-forming carbons. Worm castings work to reduce these carbons, which lowers nitrogen levels so you’ll enjoy a more neutral soil level.
To add worm castings to your existing garden, sprinkle them around the base of your plants. You can also gently dig in and pour water over them. Another great strategy is to sprinkle the castings throughout the soil with a spreader. Don’t worry about using too much. Castings can’t hurt your plants, so use as much as you want.