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Author Topic: worm castings  (Read 703 times)

Vincent

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worm castings
« on: March 18, 2017, 06:46:22 PM »
What experience has anybody had  using worm castings as a soil supplement for growing fruit trees? Results?

spaugh

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Re: worm castings
« Reply #1 on: March 18, 2017, 08:00:25 PM »
What experience has anybody had  using worm castings as a soil supplement for growing fruit trees? Results?

I have used them for vegetable gardens and throw a few big scoops in when planting a few avocado trees.  Its certainly good stuff.  Its also not cheap.  You can get similar results for less money by putting down a layer of compost and then mulch when planting your trees.  The worms will move the organic matter down and poop it out for you.

jegpg1

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Re: worm castings
« Reply #2 on: March 18, 2017, 08:19:59 PM »
I am making my own worm castings. Did my research on the net. I am using an old green recycling bin and starter earthworms bought from Uncle Jim's. No expense other than the cost of the worms. I feed them veggie and fruit scraps. I have not used any castings yet but it's looking good. I also do composting. Just this afternoon I started brewing compost tea with molasses. Plan to use this on my veggie garden and trees.

Daintree

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Re: worm castings
« Reply #3 on: March 18, 2017, 09:42:28 PM »
I use home-grown worm castings all the time and love them!  All my trees are in pots, which makes it much easier.  I add about a cup of castings every time I pot up a size, or pot something for the first time.  Then every so often, I throw a couple of handfuls into the pots.  Usually when my worms have been making more poop than I can keep up with.  Got to get those things to quit eating and making babies...

Carolyn

Finca La Isla

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Re: worm castings
« Reply #4 on: March 18, 2017, 10:01:24 PM »
I'm pretty convinced by the use of worm castings.  I am using them in my potting mix and sometimes in planting holes.
I went to Cuba and visited independant growing projects there.  The best one is pretty large, some 65 workers, grow vegetanbles, herbs, and tree fruit like papayas, mangoes, guava, etc.  The soil looked terrible but the production was impressive.  They had tried a lot of things but have ended up focusing on worm castings which they produce in huge concrete beds.
Peter

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Diggin in dirt and shifting compost - gardeners crossfit regime :)

DimplesLee

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Re: worm castings
« Reply #6 on: March 18, 2017, 10:08:32 PM »
As another member stated, sometimes it's easier to build a compost/mulch pile in rings around established trees/banana mounds and so on, water well then dump say 3 handfuls or so of vermi worms (a course sieve thru a vermi bed/plot works just fine for harvesting worms) then let them loose in the new compost pile and let the worms eat their way thru and poop out the castings in situ.

Use pure castings after fruit set as it's like high nitrogen fert - the new leafy growth will help protect the fruits from too much sun but if you apply castings during bloom time some veg and trees abort flowers and just grow new leaf flushes instead.
« Last Edit: March 18, 2017, 10:10:17 PM by DimplesLee »
Diggin in dirt and shifting compost - gardeners crossfit regime :)

raimeiken

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Re: worm castings
« Reply #7 on: March 18, 2017, 11:04:11 PM »
there's really no need to buy this expensive stuff in my opinion if you have worms already in your soil. Just feed them lots of organic matter like compost and used coffee grounds you can get for free from coffee shops.

Guayaba

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Re: worm castings
« Reply #8 on: March 19, 2017, 01:52:16 AM »
I have been composting for years and mix in my homemade compost for each new planting including lots of worms already in the compost pile.  A lot of gardeners in my area swear by vermiculture and say there is nothing better for fruits, herbs, and vegetables.  This thread has just convinced me that I should try worm farming to produce additional "Black Gold" for my fruit trees.  What do most of you use for bedding for the worms?  Shredded newspaper and cardboard?  I am just hesitant to add anything with more chemicals (dyes and oils) to the soil or to the worms.
Bob

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Re: worm castings
« Reply #9 on: March 19, 2017, 02:57:57 AM »
I've never used cardboard or newsprint for vermibeds. Farm waste mostly - corn stalks, banana trunks, sugarcane waste, sometimes spoiled hay. A shredder works just fine if you want things chopped up in smaller pieces. I have also occasionally used coarse wood chips (had a pile sitting around for use as mulch that I forgot to cover with a tarp and subsequently soaked up too much rainwater) it lasted for quite some time like it took ages to break down but I had a glut of worms during the time I used it for bedding.
« Last Edit: March 19, 2017, 03:00:06 AM by DimplesLee »
Diggin in dirt and shifting compost - gardeners crossfit regime :)

Vincent

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Re: worm castings
« Reply #10 on: March 19, 2017, 08:15:05 AM »
Having 100lbs of worm castings delivered Tuesday. Will apply it to each fruit tree and add it to trees in pots. Do you think that putting the castings as a top dressing and then adding mulch on top of it is good practice?

Bananaizme

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Re: worm castings
« Reply #11 on: March 19, 2017, 08:53:29 AM »
    Vincent

 If you have ever watched any of the shamus O'leary videos on youtube , he uses worm castings in all of his plantings. I add a small amount into the planting mix when ever I repot or plant into the ground. Also apply a top dressing at the last with castings . I get mine from a farm supply store , 20 pound bag for $12.00 . I always notice a difference in the plants overall healthiness after applying it.

 William

greenman62

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Re: worm castings
« Reply #12 on: March 19, 2017, 09:28:29 AM »
As another member stated, sometimes it's easier to build a compost/mulch pile in rings around established trees/banana mounds and so on, water well then dump say 3 handfuls or so of vermi worms (a course sieve thru a vermi bed/plot works just fine for harvesting worms) then let them loose in the new compost pile and let the worms eat their way thru and poop out the castings in situ.

Use pure castings after fruit set as it's like high nitrogen fert - the new leafy growth will help protect the fruits from too much sun but if you apply castings during bloom time some veg and trees abort flowers and just grow new leaf flushes instead.

Not sure if you are referring to me,
but, i do that.

i have mostly "guilds" around/under  my fruit trees
where i grow smaller plants like aloe, sage, comfrey, basil...
so there are a few plants in a raised area
The whole area is heavily mulched with grass clippings, leaves,
sawdust, clippings, coffee grounds etc...
usually wood chips on top.

I have a large worm bin and put all my kitchen scraps,
and some coffee grounds from Starbucks in to feed the worms.
It got so productive, that when i use the worm castings, i dont bother taking all of the worms out
and putting them back into the bin.
i might grab  %50 of the easy to pick worms and put them back into the bin,
and let the rest go under the fruit trees.

I did this for 2 years, and now there are stable colonies of compost worms
all over my yard. You just need a deep mulch layer
and add some green stuff like grass clippings on occasion to keep them fed.
fish emulsion and molasses will fed them also.

i add spirulina, fish emulsion and kelp to my worm farm on occasion
the worms break them down into plant-accessible minerals.
high in micro-nutes.

They work 24x7 for you
they dont complain, and you never have to pay them either.

here is a short video of a spot where i lift the mulch and compost
and find red worms hard at work.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qvAW01u2Dzw



greenman62

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Re: worm castings
« Reply #13 on: March 19, 2017, 09:41:03 AM »
I've never used cardboard or newsprint for vermibeds. Farm waste mostly - corn stalks, banana trunks, sugarcane waste, sometimes spoiled hay. A shredder works just fine if you want things chopped up in smaller pieces. I have also occasionally used coarse wood chips (had a pile sitting around for use as mulch that I forgot to cover with a tarp and subsequently soaked up too much rainwater) it lasted for quite some time like it took ages to break down but I had a glut of worms during the time I used it for bedding.

i am in the suburbs, so we dont really get much in the way of "farm waste"
grass clippings seem to work great. green or dried.
dried is much better for bedding. but some green now and again work also,
especially if there is some type of bedding already there.

i often steal my neighbors bags grass clippings he puts out for the trash.

i get large bags of sawdust from a local cabinet maker.
great stuff as bedding.
i get 100lb bags of coffee grounds from Starbucks every week.
that makes up most of what i feed them .
they absolutely love the stuff.
(also fruit waste. i eat lots of fruit)

I throw in a handful of diatomaceous earth now and again.
it keeps the gnats down , its healthy for the worms,
and it breaks down into silica and other minerals.

Saltcayman

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Re: worm castings
« Reply #14 on: March 19, 2017, 03:19:15 PM »
I visited a large worm farm once to pick up some castings.  The guy was feeding the worms rabbit poop. (He raised rabbits as well) 

I've never used cardboard or newsprint for vermibeds. Farm waste mostly - corn stalks, banana trunks, sugarcane waste, sometimes spoiled hay. A shredder works just fine if you want things chopped up in smaller pieces. I have also occasionally used coarse wood chips (had a pile sitting around for use as mulch that I forgot to cover with a tarp and subsequently soaked up too much rainwater) it lasted for quite some time like it took ages to break down but I had a glut of worms during the time I used it for bedding.

i am in the suburbs, so we dont really get much in the way of "farm waste"
grass clippings seem to work great. green or dried.
dried is much better for bedding. but some green now and again work also,
especially if there is some type of bedding already there.

i often steal my neighbors bags grass clippings he puts out for the trash.

i get large bags of sawdust from a local cabinet maker.
great stuff as bedding.
i get 100lb bags of coffee grounds from Starbucks every week.
that makes up most of what i feed them .
they absolutely love the stuff.
(also fruit waste. i eat lots of fruit)

I throw in a handful of diatomaceous earth now and again.
it keeps the gnats down , its healthy for the worms,
and it breaks down into silica and other minerals.


Saltcayman

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Re: worm castings
« Reply #15 on: March 19, 2017, 03:22:11 PM »
That should work well.  If you have fresh castings, they will have a lot of worm eggs wich will hatch and spread worms to all of your mulch beds... 


Having 100lbs of worm castings delivered Tuesday. Will apply it to each fruit tree and add it to trees in pots. Do you think that putting the castings as a top dressing and then adding mulch on top of it is good practice?

lisar

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Re: worm castings
« Reply #16 on: March 19, 2017, 08:25:51 PM »
For any members around SW Florida, the millipedes are invaluable.  As far as worm casting these buggers are prolific.  After 2 years here I hardly have any worms, but these seem more adapted to this sandy area. They break down all the mulch I bring in at a terrific rate. I never realized how great they are for gardens until I moved here. Don't discount them they're amazing.




achetadomestica

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Re: worm castings
« Reply #17 on: March 19, 2017, 08:48:00 PM »
For any members around SW Florida, the millipedes are invaluable.  As far as worm casting these buggers are prolific.  After 2 years here I hardly have any worms, but these seem more adapted to this sandy area. They break down all the mulch I bring in at a terrific rate. I never realized how great they are for gardens until I moved here. Don't discount them they're amazing.



Those millipedes will girdle any vegetable or small seedling tree. I like to spread mulch/pine needles across the top of my pots.
This past year I learned the hard way, I lost several various hot pepper plants and cherry tomatoes and the worst thing I lost 4 out of 5
Eugenia calycina seedlings to that dreaded millipede. I just bumped them up to larger pots and spread mulch on the top.  Next thing I know
the vegetables were sawed off at the ground. I thought a rabbit was doing it. When I started losing the E. calycina they just collapsed and lost their
leaves and eventually died. I thought I had put too much rabbit manure in my mix. When I pulled up the dead calycina it had been girdled about
1/2inch up from the ground and killed it. I talked to a friend and he uses poison every time he transplants his vegetables and he showed me his garden
and pulled up some straw cover. There was 20 dead millipedes at least!  BEWARE OF THE DREADED MILIPEDES!!!

Guayaba

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Re: worm castings
« Reply #18 on: March 19, 2017, 08:50:32 PM »
I've never used cardboard or newsprint for vermibeds. Farm waste mostly - corn stalks, banana trunks, sugarcane waste, sometimes spoiled hay. A shredder works just fine if you want things chopped up in smaller pieces. I have also occasionally used coarse wood chips (had a pile sitting around for use as mulch that I forgot to cover with a tarp and subsequently soaked up too much rainwater) it lasted for quite some time like it took ages to break down but I had a glut of worms during the time I used it for bedding.

i am in the suburbs, so we dont really get much in the way of "farm waste"
grass clippings seem to work great. green or dried.
dried is much better for bedding. but some green now and again work also,
especially if there is some type of bedding already there.

i often steal my neighbors bags grass clippings he puts out for the trash.

i get large bags of sawdust from a local cabinet maker.
great stuff as bedding.
i get 100lb bags of coffee grounds from Starbucks every week.
that makes up most of what i feed them .
they absolutely love the stuff.
(also fruit waste. i eat lots of fruit)

I throw in a handful of diatomaceous earth now and again.
it keeps the gnats down , its healthy for the worms,
and it breaks down into silica and other minerals.

I should look into the sawdust option, that sounds good.  Unfortunately I don't have much access to farm waste either, but it's good to hear other ideas of what to add to a worm farm for bedding.  I always steal my neighbors leaves in the fall, the gardener just rakes them up and throws them out, so I grab them before he arrives each week.
Bob

gnappi

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Re: worm castings
« Reply #19 on: March 19, 2017, 11:20:59 PM »
I wish every county would have a GINORMOUS plant waste disposal site where tree trimmings, house veg waste, grass clippings, coffee grinds from restaurants, and more would be sent.

Maybe with a little luck someday we'll see a new color waste can for green matter only. What a great source of garden amendments and biologically healthy mass it would be, AND it would take the pressure off of landfills.

Look what Milwaukee's forward thinkers did with Milorganite! When I lived in Orlando the water treatment facility dumped tons of treated material and gardeners took it away by trunk, truck bed, and truckloads.

Regards,

   Gary

boxturtle

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Re: worm castings
« Reply #20 on: March 20, 2017, 11:45:30 AM »
Having 100lbs of worm castings delivered Tuesday. Will apply it to each fruit tree and add it to trees in pots. Do you think that putting the castings as a top dressing and then adding mulch on top of it is good practice?

first thing to look out for when you buy worm casting is if it's 100% worm casting or something mixed with something else
If it's 100% then I suggest doing know more then a 1 to 3 with other organic compost.  I have two working bins at home and know exactly what I put in it.  I try to keep it as diverse as possible.  I save it and do a 1 to 3 ratio with organic compost I buy.  I work it into the top 6inches of soil and cover it with 2 to 3inch of mulch.  I do this late winter and after harvest.     The cool thing is there is always cocoons in it so eventually you will see a nice community of worms working around your trees.  This is only my 3rd year and I pretty confident by next year I wont have to compost my stuff in bins anymore. 

behlgarden

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Re: worm castings
« Reply #21 on: March 20, 2017, 12:02:29 PM »
I get a 40lb bag, organic OMRI certified worm casting for $29 here in Farm Supply store in California. great stuff. Heard not to use in pots as it can cause too much water retention. Great for SO Cal Gardens as it can hold moisture and is better.

spaugh

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Re: worm castings
« Reply #22 on: March 20, 2017, 02:33:05 PM »
I can grab and handful of my vegetable garden soil or avocado mulched decomposed granite soil and always get a handful of worms.  Its easier to put the scraps/compost/mulch directly in your garden soil or orchard soil and let the worms take care of things.  IMO

boxturtle

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Re: worm castings
« Reply #23 on: March 20, 2017, 06:07:34 PM »
I can grab and handful of my vegetable garden soil or avocado mulched decomposed granite soil and always get a handful of worms.  Its easier to put the scraps/compost/mulch directly in your garden soil or orchard soil and let the worms take care of things.  IMO

yups that's ideal but not everybody is that lucky :) the key is food supply needs to be there for them to survive and stick around

spaugh

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Re: worm castings
« Reply #24 on: March 20, 2017, 06:58:53 PM »
As long as its wet the worms will hang out.  Im not doing anything special.  The soil here is all decomposed granite.  Not exactly earthworm haven but they will come if you add a minimal amount of wood chips or compost on top. 

 

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