As we head into the humid Iowa summer months, it’s important to take care of our organic gardens now more than ever.
When the heat of summer kicks in and the weather gets sticky, it can affect our plants in many negative ways if we’re not careful. One of the best things you can do to keep your garden thriving long into the summer and well into the fall is to feed it with earthworm castings.
What are earthworm castings?
Essentially, a casting is earthworm poop but there’s more to it than that. Other types of organic manure don’t have all the enzymes that encourage plants to grow healthy and achieve their fullest potential.
Castings have a high level of microbial activity, which is why many organic gardeners incorporate them into their soil. It is this impressive combination of bacteria and enzymes that encourage plants to become strong and healthy.
As humans, we know that we have “good bacteria” in our gut that we need to support, right? Earthworm castings are the same thing: the positive bacteria they contain stimulates healthy growth in plants.
Why use earthworm castings in your garden?
There are several benefits to using earthworm castings in your garden. You’ll find that once you start incorporating them into your soil, you’ll see the difference in your yields.
- Faster plant growth – Worm castings encourage seeds to germinate faster than regular soil does. Not only will you speed up the germination process when you add castings to your garden, but you’ll also see faster sprouting.
- Aerated soil – Castings have a different structure than regular dirt, which means they’re hard to pack down. When your soil is aerated, oxygen can travel to your plants’ roots, which helps them grow fast and strong.
- Enhanced hydration – Soil that’s been mixed with worm castings has a greater chance of holding onto water. Since Iowa summers have a tendency to be hot, humid, and sometimes dry, it’s best to encourage as much water retention as possible. By adding worm castings to your garden, you’ll use 50-75% less water.
- They’re organic – As an organic gardener, keeping chemicals and pesticides out of your garden is important to you, which is why we recommend using castings. They contain no artificial pesticides, are chemical-free, and can be used to support your produce.
- Low on nitrogen – While it’s critical to keep a good amount of nitrogen in your soil, you don’t want to go overboard. Most fertilizers on the market are too high in nitrogen, which means it’s easy to burn the roots of your plants. Castings can’t burn your plant roots, so incorporate as much as you like!
- Pest-resistance – Worm castings act as a natural pesticide – this is a BIG deal to anyone growing organic produce because it eliminates some of the struggles and headaches that come with keeping pests out of your garden. Save money on pesticides and time on pest prevention by adding them to your garden.
- Improved yield – Studies have shown that crops grown in worm castings produce an average of 25% more yield. That’s a lot of extra peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers, and onions in your garden!