If you are into gardening, then you are probably aware that an important secret to attaining success is knowing how to fertilize your garden. One effective way to do it is to use worm castings. As a matter of fact, it is the most viable and useful organic fertilizer you will ever get the chance to use.
Worm castings have revitalizing qualities that can supply your plants with the best nutrients while also guaranteeing their longevity. You just have to make sure that you store them the right way to make the most out of them.
Worm Castings Defined
Also called vermicast, worm castings are effective gardening fertilizers made from different worm species. Every time a worm devours compost, there is a chance for the nutrients derived from that compost to get secreted into the feces. These worms are capable of ingesting a lot of nutrients from the soil and plants, turning them into the most useful fertilizer. You can either make a vermicast organically or use the store-bought ones.
Reasons to Use Worm Castings
If your goal is to enhance your garden, then you can never go wrong by choosing to use worm castings. You can either layer it on top or mix it into the soil. Regardless of the application method, you have chosen, you have an assurance that the worm castings are capable of performing their intended function for the garden.
Apart from providing the plants in your garden the best environment for them to grow and survive, worm castings can also help in resurrecting those that were not able to grow in barren garden beds. Moreover, this fertilizer can enrich the soil with nutrients. It also gives you an assurance that the nutrients it provides can reach deeply into the plants’ roots. With that, you have a better chance of successfully tending to a blooming garden.
Importance of Proper Storage
One thing you have to remember about worm castings is that they need to be stored properly for them to deliver what they promise. Keep in mind that they also need to breathe. This means they need an environment, which can supply them with enough air and moisture, instead of just locking them in an airtight container.
You have to store them correctly to make them even more productive and ensure that they will continue to help in giving your plants the best help. Here are just some of the most effective storage methods for your worm castings:
#1 – Use a bucket
For this storage method, you will need a drill, a bucket with a 5-gallon capacity, some newspapers, water stored in a spray bottle, and worm castings. You may also use worm castings that were already mixed with soil. You also have to prepare a spot at home where you can put this bucket once you have completed the steps.
The first thing that you have to do is to get the bucket and drill. Poke small air holes in the bucket’s lid using the drill. These holes are essential in making the worm castings breathe properly.
The next thing you have to do is to make the worm castings moist. You will be using the spray bottle containing water during this step. Just spray the worm castings with enough water but avoid drowning them. Just make sure that they are moist or wet enough that you can hold a handful of them and squeeze.
Once they are moist enough, scoop or dump some of them into the drilled bucket. It would be best to fill up around two to three inches of the bucket with the worm castings. After that, spray the newspaper with water. It should be completely wet but not soggy or extremely soaking. Use it to line the topmost part of the bucket. The wet newspaper is helpful in maintaining the proper moisture for your worm castings.
Lastly, you have to seal the bucket. Just put its lid to seal it tightly. One important tip, though, is to maintain enough room in between the lid and wet newspaper. This can help the air travel easily through the paper, allowing the worm castings to stay moist. With that, you have a guarantee that they will be fully prepared for planting anytime soon.
#2 – Use a Ziploc
For this method, you will be needing a Ziploc bag, moisture-resistant tape, and a pen or pencil, which you have to use in poking holes. Once you have the Ziploc bag, get the pen or pencil and poke holes on one of its sides. The holes should not be too big to avoid ripping the bag completely.
You should then put some of the worm castings into the Ziploc bag with holes. Make sure that the side where there are holes should be facing up when doing this step. This will prevent the worms from falling through the poked holes. After you have placed all the worm castings inside the bag, you can seal it.
Seal it even further with the aid of moisture-resistant tape. This step is helpful in ensuring that the castings do not get exposed to excessive amounts of air, causing them to lose too much moisture in the end.
If you choose this storage method, remember that it is quite risky. The reason is that it is possible for the bag to perforate, resulting in you losing the worm castings. It also uses flimsy materials that may lead to spills eventually. Still, nothing can’t be solved with proper preparation and extreme caution when using this method.
Do’s and Don’ts When Storing Worm Castings
Make sure that you also keep these do’s and don’ts in mind when storing your worm castings to increase their chance of thriving and serving their purpose:
- Check moisture every six months – However, the frequency of monitoring moisture should still depend on the climate in your area. If you are still a beginner, then it would be best to increase the frequency of monitoring the moisture so you will know the most suitable timetable for your worm castings.
- Add moisture when they get too dry correctly – One way to provide moisture is by dumping the bucket’s contents into a tote or tray. Pour some water then mix them similar to what you are doing with worm bedding. The goal is to moisten them without making them extremely muddy. Return them to the bucket after that then do not forget to use a wet newspaper to cover them up.
- Do not use chlorinated water – When adding moisture to your worm castings, chlorinated water is a big no. The reason is that chlorine may kill all the bacteria that should be living in the castings.
In case your water supply is chlorinated, you can still use it but not right away. What you should do is to fill a bucket with it then leave it for a minimum of 24 hours. This provides enough time for the chlorine to gas off, which makes the water safe to use for your worm castings.
Storing worm castings is not actually that hard. Once you know the steps involved in the process, you can surely make your worm castings survive by storing them in the right spot. You can then take full advantage of them by adding them to your garden and seeing them work miracles in the way your plants grow.