Worm Castings: Powerhouse Poop From Wiggly Worms

Ed Wike
Written by
Last update:

What Are Worm Castings?

If you want to grow the biggest and best tasting fruits and veggies in your garden, there's one secret weapon: worm poo.

Yes, worm casting are worm dung and every gardener should be using it.

What are worm poo! They are the result of earthworms feeding on materials in the soil, like decomposing leaves, dead bugs, peels, apple cores, coffee grounds, and banana peels. When the worm digests these items, its poop is rich in nutrients.

The excrement can be dried and used as a fertilizer. These dried casts are black and look like fine, crumbled dirt.

Fertile soil will usually produce firm apples. But when the soil is lacking in fertilizer, the fruit may grow soft, which makes it more likely to rot. Growing fruit trees with worm castings can increase fruit size by 30 percent.

Gardeners are looking for worm poo benefits and when you use the castings as fertilizer your plants are happier and you get bigger and better fruits and veggies in your vegetables.

What’s The Difference Between Worm Castings And Vermicompost?

You may be wondering “What’s vermicompost?” Good question. Vermicompost is a fancy term for worm poop! Vermicompost is a composted material that worms make in a worm compost bin. It's the nutrient-rich material that comes from the castings of worms.

“What’s castings?” are you wondering? Well, castings is another word for poop! Castings is what the worms leave behind after digestion. Vermicompost and castings are the same thing.

Vermicompost has been around for centuries. It's great for the garden, and it's a great source of nutrients for plants. It's also great for you. You can use vermicompost as a soil amendment. It also improves the air quality in the soil, thanks to its content of antibiotics, vitamins and enzymes.

So now that you know the difference between worm castings and vermicompost, here are some uses for worm castings.

Worm Castings NPK: Why Is It So Low?

Worm castings are the highest quality worm poop that you can buy and use for your gardens. The reason why is because worm castings are the gardeners' and farmers' best friend. Every garden has different food needs and a variety of castings is available. For example, the worm castings for orchards differ from the worm castings for shrubs and trees. There are at least ten different types of castings that can be purchased on the market today. Considering the nutritional value and the fact that they are instant fertilizer for your plants, worms have earned the reputation of being a gardener's best friend.

However, there is a lot of confusion surrounding worm castings. People wonder whether worm castings are safe for children to use. Some even ask if they should use it at all. Most people have questions about what exactly worm castings are. In addition, they want to know how worm castings work and whether they are good for the environment. Worm castings are definitely worth the money you spend on them. The best way to discover why you should buy them is to understand what they are.

How Are Worm Castings Made?

If you're a gardener or urban farmer, you've likely heard about worm castings by now. Made from red worm poop, this homestead compost additive is an easy way to add nutrients to your soil. If you're a first-time gardener or if you're a homesteader that's looking for a reliable way to boost soil nutrients, worm castings are a great way to start.

The Method behind the Power

Worm castings are made from red worms. As the worms digest, they produce poop and leftover plant matter. Red worm poop is rich in nutrients and beneficial microbes. When you introduce this worm fertilizer to your urban garden or suburban farm, you improve the overall health of the soil on your property. If you're looking for a safe and natural way to make your garden more productive, worm castings are a great place to start.

The Benefits of Red Worm Poop

In the world of compost, there are two different types of nutrients — carbon-rich materials and nitrogen-rich materials. Gardeners use break down and decompose the carbon-rich materials first, so they can break down the nitrogen-rich materials. When you use worm castings, you're adding a nitrogen-rich fertilizer, which stimulates growth in your plants.

Commercially-Farmed Worm Castings

While you can purchase worm castings in a bag from your local nursery or gardening supply store, you may also be surprised to discover that this special fertilizer isn’t all that hard to make yourself. It requires a bit of work, but the results are extremely rewarding. If you can scoop poop from a horse stall bedding into a large hole in the ground, you can produce your own worm castings.

One way to begin this project would be to obtain a bulk amount of organic material, such as wood chips, leaves, hay, or cottonseed hulls. Since this material is readily available at local horse farms, horse breeding facilities, and other sources, ask around for a good source for your worm crop. Another option is to search the internet for bulk material suppliers or to visit a pet store and ask about bulk animal bedding or substrates.

The packaging that worm castings come in may be misleading because there are three different types of castings available: worms, cocoons (worm eggs), and manure. Worm castings are merely live worms. When you purchase worm castings, don’t be surprised to find quite a few live worms in the bag. Even if you order cocoons and manure from a supplier, live worms are sometimes present.

Making Vermicompost At Home

Worm castings, also known as worm excrement or worm poop, are used as organic fertilizer and soil amendment. They are a great organic additive to any garden because of their high nutrient levels. Additionally, they are a natural source of potash. Worm castings have the highest nutrient levels compared to other manures and composting materials. They are also very easy to make at home using worms.

Some key facts about worm castings are:

  • They are a natural fertilizer.
  • They are good for any type of soil.
  • They especially work well for sandy soil.
  • They usually contain many worm eggs.
  • They contain many composting microbes.

How to create worm castings at home:

You need to collect your own worms to create the best castings possible. Store bought worms have usually been raised in captivity and do not produce a quality product. It may be difficult to find local worms when you are starting out with vermicomposting. You will have to find a local supplier or attempt to catch some yourself.

Benefits Of Using Worm Castings

Worm castings are a type of fertilizer that has been around for over a century. The soil conditioner’s soil conditioning properties are suitable for use in a variety of plants.

It’s organic, which means it’s made from composted plants and manure … a natural fertilizer. It is excellent for feeding indoor and outdoor plants, as well as your garden.

Many people prefer the idea of using worm casings because it is a natural fertilizer. It is not known to contain any toxic chemicals or poisons, making it a safer alternative to chemical fertilizers.

The acidity of worm castings is neutralized, making it an ideal soil conditioner. It is easy for plants to absorb, and it can also be used as a water conditioner, as well.

This all-natural fertilizer helps feed the soil and works to improve the growth of your plants. It helps your plants grow to their fullest potential, promoting the production of more vegetables, fruits, and flowers.

Added benefits of using worm castings include a reduction in the amount of bugs that thrive in your soil, like slugs and snails.

It also improves the quality of the soil, providing nutrients like phosphorus and nitrogen as well as potassium.

Drawbacks Of Using Worm Castings

A castings aside, worm poop is excellent for the soil, with the worms extracting the best nutrients from it and passing them on to your plants, resulting in a more nutrient rich product.

Aside from being really useful for gardening, worm poop is very useful, you can use it to create compost teas for your plants and that can also be used for your houseplants normally.

Truth be told, worm castings are not always the best option. While it can be very nutrient rich, there are some issues with using them. Yes worm castings can be great for your garden, but these issues will definitely take away from that.

First of all, if you aren’t careful, the castings can become too acidic. If this is the case, it can make the soil act acidic for plants and they can’t use it as easily.

It is also a good idea to make sure that you are checking the materials that they are made out of. Some of the best worm composts are made out of food scraps that are not diseased. This can help avoid the spread of infection.

How To Use Worm Castings

Bokashi is the Japanese word for ‘fermented organic matter’. It encompasses a wide variety of organic materials fermented by microorganisms, usually in the absence of oxygen. The result is a nutritious, odorless, stable substance that can be added to soil, compost and pretty much everything.

Worm Castings are the perfect fertilizer for growing plants. They are a potent and highly recommended soil amendment almost all plants love it.

You can add them to your soil and compost or use them to make your own fertilizers.

Worm castings are also a good source of Nitrogen, which is a great source of energy for the plant.

You can supplement it with other nutrients (such as dry leaves, wood chips, etc.) to make organic soil conditioner.

They are great for adding to soil that has been used for several growing seasons or for mulching and water retention.

There are a lot of great benefits to using worm castings. One that always makes me smile is that they are great for your garden in a compost tea because they bring healthy microbes, including bacteria and act a little like a fertilizer to the garden.

I also like to recommend them as a top dressing to plants or around new plants for the Nitrogen. As you will read below, worm castings even have a high Calcium content.

Amending Your Soil

Compared to what they gave up, earthworm castings are a great bargain for all the benefits they offer.

Earthworm castings (or vermicompost) are extremely high in essential nutrients that plants need for healthy growth.

Because they are so rich in nutrients, castings are used as organic mulches and soil amendments to help plants grow various diseases and insect free, and to increase crop yields.

Here are some of the main benefits of the nutrients in castings:

{1}. Castings are rich in micronutrients, especially hard-to-find micronutrients, such as manganese, zinc, copper, iron, boron, and calcium.
{2}. Castings have a pH level that is correct for most garden plants – between 6.5 (slightly acidic) and 7.8 (just slightly basic).
{3}. Castings contain beneficial soil microbes.
{4}. Castings are highly porous, allowing air, water, and nutrients to reach the roots.
{5}. Castings also boost the water-holding capacity of the soil, so you don't have to water as often.

Side Dressing With Worm Castings

Worm castings are amazing fertilizer made from worm compost, and are an environmentally friendly alternative to chemical fertilizers. Instead of using worm castings straight, this compost can also be "side dressed" into your lawn when you want to give it a boost. When you side dress with worm castings, you are applying the active nutrients that the worms in the compost have extracted from any added organic matter, such as grass clippings or food scraps. This practice can have lasting effects on the health of your lawn, and can help you avoid having to fertilize as often.

Here is how to side dress with worm castings.

Sweep off all the surface grass clippings or other debris from your lawn.

Apply a 2 inch layer of worm castings over the entire lawn, and water it in well with a gentle spray from a garden hose.

Follow your local growing season or weather when planning your side dressing schedule. If you know your lawn has been especially stressed, such as by an oppressive summer sun or dry winter winds, that is a good time to add extra nutrients.

Mix a teaspoon of blood meal or other potent organic fertilizer into the castings to stimulate the growth of beneficial fungi that can help keep the soil damp and reduce weeds.

Seed Starting And Transplanting

Starting with clean potting mix is the best way to prevent transplanting shock. To accomplish that, do not reuse potting mix that has been used previously or buy potting mix that has come in contact with a fungus or a weed seed.

Prepare your pots by filling each pot with holes and adding a 1-1/2" tall layer of potting mix to the bottom. Make sure to lightly water your pots before use to help with drainage.

Fill each hole with a spoonful of worm castings and press into the potting mix hole. If you are growing the seedlings by themselves in the pots, be sure to cover the holes with a layer of potting mix covering them completely.

Use a spray bottle filled with water and mist the top of the soil. This will help give seeds a better start and help to develop healthy root systems.

Water every few days to keep the soil moist but not oversaturated. The pots should be sitting in trays or saucers of water.

Once your seedlings are a few inches tall, you can transplant them into larger pots or into the garden.

Improving Your Lawn

Worm castings are actually worm poop. They are really the result of a complex food and waste recycling process between worms, microbes, and plants in the soil.

As microbes feed on food scraps and other decaying material, they also release enzymes. The worms depend on these enzymes, so they chew on them. In addition, soil microbes also produce beneficial ammonia and various vitamins and nutrients.

This mixture isn’t exactly appetizing, but that’s where the worms come into play. They eat the enzymes and the microbes. They also break down the material with their bacteria-laden digestive tracts. Once their digestion is completed, the worms excrete the remaining end product: worm castings.

The benefits of worm castings are incredible and you can’t take advantage of them if you’re not up to speed on the best worm castings method.

Not only do worm castings increase fertility and the organic content of your soil, they actually concentrate the nutrients from your fertilizers so that your plants thrive.

Compost’s rich texture also allows your plants to absorb fertilizer quicker and its high concentration of microbes increases your soil’s ability to hold twice as much water.

How To Make Worm Casting Tea

Worm castings tea is a great addition to any garden or soil. It is full of the necessary nutrients plants need to flourish and grow. As a result, it's common for worm castings teas to be used as

The best part about worm castings is they can be created by any home gardener. Once you've collected the organic waste from your kitchen, yard, or garden, you can add this product to water and allow the mixture to sit overnight. At that point, it can be strained and poured over the plants in your yard or garden until it's no longer cloudy. Once your mixture is clear, you can also add it to the compost pile and let it cook for a few months. At that point, it will be ready to re-use in your garden or give away as a thoughtful gift.

Storing Worm Castings

Can They Be Stored Outside?

When you purchase worm castings, you get nutrients, bacteria, enzymes, vitamins, and minerals from worm poop. When you buy worm castings, you'll also see that many sellers include directions on keeping the worm castings fresh.

Knowing how to store worm castings is the key to ensuring your new nutrient source lasts through the summer, winter, and again the following spring. Regardless of where you live, or how you plan to store your castings during the winter, here are a few things to know:

When you dig through the internet, you may find more than one idea or recommendation for storing worm castings. Doing your research before you buy worm castings may appear overwhelming. Then, chances are, if you have the worms you’re going to need the compost. To simplify the process, here are the basic do’s and don’ts for storing castings.

Do’s to keep your worm castings from turning rancid during the winter:

Make sure your worm castings are 100% dry. “Leaking Worms” are much more common than you might think and having a spongy banana-like smelling castings in your bin is not something you want.

Where To Buy Worm Castings

Let’s face it, fertilizers are bad news for the environment. One of the biggest problems with commercial fertilizers is that they are based on fossil fuels. On average, it requires 17.5 pounds of natural gas, one gallon of fuel oil, and 1.5 pounds of coal to produce one pound of ammonia fertilizer. When ammonia is used, the released nitrate runs off the land and through our rivers and streams and contributes to the toxic blue-green algae blooms that have infested our lakes and waterways.

Fertilizer and other chemical fertilizers destroy the natural microbes in the soil that produce nutrients for the plants. This kills the vital microorganism environment that the plants need to grow.

Another big downside to this fertilizers is that they leach into the water table. This is not only dangerous to the environment but also to our drinking water.

The easiest and best way to feed your plants and to keep the natural microbes that create the nutrients you need to thrive is to use worm castings.

Worms create the perfect fertilizer because they eat food waste and poop out nutrient-rich castings.

Although most popularly associated with gardeners, worm castings can be used in any growing environment. You’ll find these fertilizers in nurseries, greenhouses, and with farmers.