Benefits of earthworm castings discussed at MMGC meeting
Annette Webb, owner of R.A.W. Sustainable Living in Gosh, Ind., did a presentation on the benefits of earthworm castings (or “worm poop”) at a Tuesday, Oct. 10 meeting of Meek’s Mill Garden Club (MMGC).
Webb and her husband Bob Webb have 30,000 African night crawlers on their earthworm farm. ?
“Our worms live eight years, and eat one-and-a-half times their weight a day. They are fed mixed grains, mixed with peat moss, with a little bit of water added every two weeks which yields seven pounds of castings. We keep them in buckets at a 75-degree temperature. They die if it goes below 60 degrees,” she said.
Castings are completely finished and unlike other creature manures. They don’t smell strongly — more like forest soil, and don’t burn plants due to too much direct nitrogen. Castings contain 4 to 5 percent more nitrogen than your average garden soil, but it is released slowly due to the mucous the worms secrete as they digest. Castings make soil more absorbent, making moisture more consistently available to plants, and prevent soil from completely drying out.
Worms introduce uncountable numbers of beneficial microbes and bacteria into the finished product, guaranteeing the healthiest soil possible. Castings contain humid acid, which aids plant nutrient absorption. Studies show that germination and seedling growth is improved by planting in worm castings, or they are the “super food of garden plants.”
Webb distributed packets of “My Garden’s Best Friend” organic casting fertilizer to members of MMGC following the presentation.
A business meeting was held. Hostesses Jo Fuller and Ida Buckholtz served refreshments.
Angie Birdsall is a freelance writer who primarily covers Constantine.