Categories
BLOG

worm castings cannabis

Worm Castings: A Potent Fertilizer

If you were to dig into the soil of a natural, thriving garden, you wouldn’t be surprised to come across at least one soil-coated worm. Earthworms in the garden are not a new concept, and their benefits have been recognized for generations of growers. Worms have been natures recyclers from the start, taking organic waste and converting it into plant nutrients, in the form of excreted ‘gold’. These excretions, more commonly known as “worm castings”, are considered one of the most potent fertilizers in the cannabis industry.

Worm castings have a long list of benefits for organic growing, including protecting plants from diseases and pests. In this article, we discuss the use of earthworms and worm castings in growing organic cannabis, and give insight into how they can help increase plant health, growth, and yield.

A Caricature of Darwin published in the satirical magazine ‘Punch’ in 1881

Darwin’s Worms

Charles Darwin was a naturalist and one of the most famous scientists of all time, best known for his theory of evolution by natural selection.

What was this iconic scientist most fascinated with? Yup, you guessed it, earthworms!

Darwin spent over FORTY years studying earthworms, their intelligence, preferences, and behaviour. These studies were eventually consolidated in 1881 in a book titled ‘The Formation of Vegetable Mould through the Action of Worms, with Observations of their Habits’.

In his appreciation for worms, Darwin wrote:

“Without the work of this humble creature, who knows nothing of the benefits he confers upon mankind, agriculture, as we know it, would be very difficult, if not wholly impossible.”

But that was over a hundred years ago. Surely agriculture has progressed passed the point of using worms for its success? The answer is, not really.

The industry has come full-circle, initially turning to synthetic pesticides and fertilizers, but now slowly returning to the resources that nature provides us with. Most synthetic fertilizers are initially effective at increasing plant growth, but over time, harm the plants and soil. Synthetic fertilizers can build up in soil making plants more susceptible to disease. They can also breakdown the soil over time, contributing to the huge issue of soil loss in our industry today.

Worm castings on the other hand, are entirely chemical-free, can’t build up in crops, and are hugely beneficial to plants and the soil. Let’s take a closer look at what makes worm castings a desirable option for organic growers.

Cultivating Worms – aka. Vermiculture

Vermiculture is the cultivation of worms for the betterment of soil health and plant growth, and ultimately for the promotion of sustainable agriculture. But what is it about worms and their ‘waste’ that makes them so unique and beneficial in our gardens?

The Life of a Worm

At first glance, earthworms don’t appear to be much more than mushy tubes. It’s hard to believe that these tiny cylinders are actually recycling machines. Earthworms work all night, all over the world, tirelessly decomposing our waste.

As earthworms are hermaphroditic, they are able to reproduce with any other earthworm, making reproduction rapid and worm populations plenteous.

Baby worms emerge from cocoons in the soil, where eggs were previously laid by a parent earthworm. Earthworms can live for up to ten years, but don’t often reach this age due to hazards in their environment.

Much of an earthworm’s life is spent burrowing and finding decomposing food to pull down into their burrows. Earthworms prefer to eat decomposing leaves and grass, but can also feed on decomposing roots, algae, fungi, and bacteria within the soil.

Earthworms and Decomposition

All living organisms cycle through birth, growth, reproduction, death, and decomposition. Decomposition is the breaking apart of organic matter so that it can become the building blocks for new life.

There are many organisms aiding decomposition, but the actions of earthworms are of the most influential. Earthworms gain energy from decaying organic matter, much like we gain energy from the food we eat.

In terms of consumption, a worm’s digestive system is relatively simple – a tube within a tube. Worms have a mouth where food is ingested, and a strong muscle in the anterior that works to grind up the food. In addition to grinding, worms also use enzymes and bacteria to further break down their food. At the end of its passage, the remaining material is excreted in the form of worm castings.

Worm castings above ground in “heaps”

Worm castings are usually deposited within the soil itself, but there are some species that deposit their casts above ground in nutrient-dense heaps. You may have already seen these heaps scattered across your lawn, without realizing the value that they hold.

Worm Castings as Plant Nutrients

Worm castings can also be known as ‘vermicast’, or, more simply, worm manure. However, its odour and appearance are nothing like typical manure, and more closely resembles damp soil.

The main difference in appearance between soil and worm casts is that worm castings are rich in nutrients and thus darker in colour. This clean, odourless, organic material is rich in all essential plant nutrients, and more importantly, provides these nutrients in a water-soluble form for plant use. In addition, worm castings also keep nutrients in the soil for longer periods of time.

Providing slow-release, organic nutrients would be reason enough to add worm castings to your growing arsenal. However, the lists of benefits don’t stop there!

Worm Castings for Plant Growth

In addition to being rich in nutrients, worm castings are rich in beneficial microbes that contribute to a thriving soil environment. These microorganisms are often multiplied within the digestive tract of the worm, aiding in nutrient breakdown. Microbes also perform reactions that stabilize nutrients, making them more available to plants. Soil enriched with worm casts has about 100 times more bacteria than regular soil, and can even increase the efficiency of other fertilizers if used in conjunction!

Here are some other quick facts about worm castings for plant growth:

  • they can act as a buffer, helping plants grow in soil where the pH is unbalanced.
  • they can hold up to 9 times their own weight in water and provide readily available water to plants.
  • worm casts increase soil surface area, allowing for better aeration and water drainage (ie. the air-to-water ratio)
  • they help the soil form aggregates, which prevent water erosion and the compacting of soil (thus giving plant roots a stronger ‘hold’ in the soil and more room to grow)
  • they contain humic acids which free up plant nutrients, and,
  • Worm castings contain plant growth hormones called Auxins, which increase plant growth and yield

Finally, the best part about all these worm cast benefits? You can’t over-do it! Worm castings hold nutrients in a way that releases them over time, and thus will not cause nutrient burn in your plants. They are used by many of the organisms in the soil food web and will not build up in the soil.

Worm Castings for Plant Protection

As plants become healthier and are better able to protect themselves against pests and diseases, their need for pesticides is reduced. Worm castings help in plant health and growth, but they can also act in plant defence when an attack is unavoidable.

Worm castings are rapidly gaining popularity as a bio-pesticide. They contain an enzyme, called chitinase, which acts as a pest repellant and also strengthens the plants natural defence. In cannabis plants specifically, worm casts act on insect pests such as spider mites and aphids, and also on fungal diseases such as Pythium rot.

Worm Castings for Seed Protection

Researchers are currently studying the mechanisms of disease resistance that worm casts provide, not only to plants, but to seeds prior to germination. Worm castings are known to shorten the seed germination cycle and have now been found to colonize the surface of seeds, protecting them from infection.

Worm Casts provide an organic alternative to synthetic pesticides, which are currently being used to coat seeds in the industry. Researchers are finding promising results where worm casts provide effective seed protection, while promoting a healthier seedling environment.

Worm Castings and Soil Remediation

As we saw previously in Soil Remediation with Cannabis, cannabis is extremely effective at taking up toxins from the soil. This is great when cannabis is used for bioremediation, but not desirable for plants being used for consumption.

Worm castings are effective at holding toxins (such as heavy metals) in the soil, which benefits our plants by slowing down toxin absorption – yet another win for worm castings!

One significant problem with worm castings, however, is that they are not all created equal. Earthworms take in decomposing material, along with whatever compounds are in their surroundings. If the soil contains toxic material, earthworms can become toxin vectors. This becomes a problem if the earthworms become a food source themselves, by moving toxins up the food chain.

DDT is a synthetic insecticide now banned in many countries and is one toxin found to be passed through earthworms. Author Rachel Carson notes,

“As few as 11 large earthworms can transfer a lethal dose of DDT to a robin. And 11 worms form a small part of a day’s rations to a bird that eats 10 to 12 earthworms in as many minutes.”

And DDT is only one of many environmental contaminants. This alone highlights the need for a safe, organic environment when rearing worms, and the need for high-quality worm castings.

The Tricky Nature of Growing Cannabis with Live Worms

Hopefully, by now you’re convinced of the many benefits in using worm castings to grow organic cannabis. You really can’t go wrong! But you may be thinking, why not go straight to the source and use live worms?

You certainly CAN use live worms in growing organic cannabis. Contrary to popular belief, earthworms only feed on decaying matter and are therefore no risk to your plants. If you’re confident in the quality of your soil, then using live worms can have numerous benefits.

The problem with using living worms lies in keeping them in your growing area.

Earthworms are happy in a constant environment, with balanced temperature, moisture, food and oxygen. However, this type of environment is not always ideal for cannabis growth. Nutrient adjustments and water flushes are often a part of the cannabis growing cycle, leading to instability in the worm’s habitat. Unfortunately, this instability most often results in earthworms burrowing away from the area.

Worm castings are one of the 18 premium ingredients in the BlueSky Organics Super Soil

Worm Castings in BlueSky Organics Super Soil

BlueSky Organics Super Soil is our pre-fertilized, ready-to-use growing medium. It contains 18 organic ingredients, including high-quality worm castings, allowing you to conveniently reap all of the benefits listed above. The benefits of organic growing are numerous and start with the soil itself, where your plants take root and obtain all of the nutrients they need.

All of the 17 other ingredients in Super Soil also have a purpose. They are designed to aerate the soil, hold water, cultivate beneficial microbes, and ultimately boost the performance of your plants. BlueSky Organics also offers custom soil blends, for those growers with specific needs in indoor or outdoor growing environments.

At BlueSky Organics we believe in using the ingredients that nature has provided for us, for the sustainable growth of premium organic cannabis.

References
  • Science Learning Hub Contributors (June, 2012). Charles Darwin and Earthworms. Science Learning Hub. https://www.sciencelearn.org.nz/resources/22-charles-darwin-and-earthworms
  • Darwin, C. (Original text 1881, Digital September 2010). The Formation of Vegetable Mould Through the Action of Worms: With Observations on Their Habits. Appleton Publishers, sourced through the University of Chicago. https://books.google.ca/books?id=XWQQAQAAMAAJ&dq=worm+castings&lr=&source=gbs_navlinks_s
  • Time Magazine Contributors(1941). Science. Praise for the Earthworm. Time Inc. http://content.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,765165,00.html
  • Sumanthy, J.H., and Poornima, I. (February 2018). Wealth From Waste Through Worms in Thirukandalam. International Journal of Current Research. Vol 10.2 http://www.gmferd.com/journalcra.com/sites/default/files/20031.pdf
  • Sinha, R.K., Herat, S., Agarwal, S., Asadi, R., Carretero, E. (September, 2002) Vermiculture and waste management: study of action of earthworms Elsinia foetida, Eudrilus euginae and Perionyx excavatus on biodegradation of some community wastes in India and Australia. Environmentalist. Vol 22.3. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1023/A:1016583929723
  • Edwards, C.A., Bohlen, P.J. (1996). Biology and Ecology of Earthworms – Volume 3. Springer Science and Business Media. https://books.google.ca/books?id=ad4rDwD_GhsC&dq=earthworms&lr=&source=gbs_navlinks_s
  • Ugwoke, A.O., Ugwuanya, R. (2017). Bioremediation of domestic organic wastes using earthworm (Eudrilus eugenia). International Journal of Arts and Sciences: Engineering, Health, Pure and Applied Sciences. Vol 2.1. http://imtijotas.org.ng/node/122
  • Zanella, A., Ponge, J., Briones, M.J.I (January 2018). Terrestrial humus systems and forms – Biological activity and soil aggregates, space-time dynamics. Applied Soil Ecology. Vol 122.1 https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0929139317300409
  • Lenet, R. (2007). Earthwormshttps://www.sas.upenn.edu/

*all retrieved on December 28th, 2018

If you were to dig into the soil of a natural, thriving garden, you wouldn’t be surprised to come across at least one soil-coated worm. Earthworms in the garden are not a new concept, and their benefits have been recognized for generations of growers. Worms have been natures recyclers from the start, taking organic waste and converting it into plant nutrients, in the form of excreted ‘gold’. These excretions, more commonly known as “worm castings”, are considered one of the most potent fertilizers in the cannabis industry. Worm castings have a long list of benefits for organic growing, including protecting plants from diseases and pests. In this article, we discuss the use of earthworms and worm castings in growing organic cannabis, and give insight into how they can help increase plant health, growth, and yield. Darwin’s Worms Charles Darwin was a naturalist and one of the most famous scientists of all time, best known for his theory of evolution by natural selection. What was this iconic scientist most fascinated with? Yup, you guessed it, earthworms! Darwin spent over FORTY years studying earthworms, their intelligence, preferences, and behaviour. These studies were eventually consolidated in 1881 in a book titled ‘The Formation of Vegetable Mould through the Action of Worms, with Observations of their Habits’. In his appreciation for worms, Darwin wrote: “Without the work of this humble creature, who knows nothing of the benefits he confers upon mankind, agriculture, as we know it, would be very difficult, if not wholly impossible.” But that was over a hundred years ago. Surely agriculture has progressed passed the point of using worms for its success? The answer is, not really. The industry has come full-circle, initially turning to synthetic pesticides and fertilizers, but now slowly returning to the resources that nature provides us with. Most synthetic fertilizers are initially effective at increasing plant growth, but over time, harm the plants and soil. Synthetic fertilizers can build up in soil making plants more susceptible to disease. They can also breakdown the soil over time, contributing to the huge issue of soil loss in our industry today. Worm castings on the other hand, are entirely chemical-free, can’t build up in crops, and are hugely beneficial to plants and the soil. Let’s take a closer look at what makes worm castings a desirable option for organic growers. Cultivating Worms – aka. Vermiculture Vermiculture is the cultivation of worms for the betterment of soil health and plant growth, and ultimately for the promotion of sustainable agriculture. But what is it about worms and their ‘waste’ that makes them so unique and beneficial in our gardens? The Life of a Worm At first glance, earthworms don’t appear to be much more than mushy tubes. It’s hard to believe that these tiny cylinders are actually recycling machines. Earthworms work all night, all over the world, tirelessly decomposing our waste. As earthworms are hermaphroditic, they are able to reproduce with any other earthworm, making reproduction rapid and worm populations plenteous. Baby worms emerge from cocoons in the soil, where eggs were previously laid by a parent earthworm. Earthworms can live for up to ten years, but don’t often reach this age due to hazards in their environment. Much of an earthworm’s life is spent burrowing and finding decomposing food to pull down into their burrows. Earthworms prefer to eat decomposing leaves and grass, but can also feed on decomposing roots, algae, fungi, and bacteria within the soil. Earthworms and Decomposition All living organisms cycle through birth, growth, reproduction, death, and decomposition. Decomposition is the breaking apart of organic matter so that it can become the building blocks for new life. There are many organisms aiding decomposition, but the actions of earthworms are of the most influential. Earthworms gain energy from decaying organic matter, much like we gain energy from the food we eat. In terms of consumption, a worm’s digestive system is relatively simple – a tube within a tube. Worms have a mouth where food is ingested, and a strong muscle in the anterior that works to grind up the food. In addition to grinding, worms also use enzymes and bacteria to further break down their food. At the end of its passage, the remaining material is excreted in the form of worm castings. Worm castings are usually deposited within the soil itself, but there are some species that deposit their casts above ground in nutrient-dense heaps. You may have already seen these heaps scattered across your lawn, without realizing the value that they hold. Worm Castings as Plant Nutrients Worm castings can also be known as ‘vermicast’, or, more simply, worm manure. However, its odour and appearance are nothing like typical manure, and more closely resembles damp soil. The main difference in appearance between soil and worm casts is that worm castings are rich in nutrients and thus darker in colour. This clean, odourless, organic material is rich in all essential plant nutrients, and more importantly, provides these nutrients in a water-soluble form for plant use. In addition, worm castings also keep nutrients in the soil for longer periods of time. Providing slow-release, organic nutrients would be reason enough to add worm castings to your growing arsenal. However, the lists of benefits don’t stop there! Worm Castings for Plant Growth In addition to being rich in nutrients, worm castings are rich in beneficial microbes that contribute to a thriving soil environment. These microorganisms are often multiplied within the digestive tract of the worm, aiding in nutrient breakdown. Microbes also perform reactions that stabilize nutrients, making them more available to plants. Soil enriched with worm casts has about 100 times more bacteria than regular soil, and can even increase the efficiency of other fertilizers if used in conjunction! Here are some other quick facts about worm castings for plant growth: they can act as a buffer, helping plants grow in soil where the pH is unbalanced. they can hold up to 9 times their own weight in water and provide readily available water to plants. worm casts increase soil surface area, allowing for better aeration and water drainage (ie. the air-to-water ratio) they help the soil form aggregates, which prevent water erosion and the compacting of soil (thus giving plant roots a stronger ‘hold’ in the soil and more room to grow) they contain humic acids which free up plant nutrients, and, Worm castings contain plant growth hormones called Auxins, which increase plant growth and yield Finally, the best part about all these worm cast benefits? You can’t over-do it! Worm castings hold nutrients in a way that releases them over time, and thus will not cause nutrient burn in your plants. They are used by many of the organisms in the soil food web and will not build up in the soil. Worm Castings for Plant Protection As plants become healthier and are better able to protect themselves against pests and diseases, their need for pesticides is reduced. Worm castings help in plant health and growth, but they can also act in plant defence when an attack is unavoidable. Worm castings are rapidly gaining popularity as a bio-pesticide. They contain an enzyme, called chitinase, which acts as a pest repellant and also strengthens the plants natural defence. In cannabis plants specifically, worm casts act on insect pests such as spider mites and aphids, and also on fungal diseases such as Pythium rot. Worm Castings for Seed Protection Researchers are currently studying the mechanisms of disease resistance that worm casts provide, not only to plants, but to seeds prior to germination. Worm castings are known to shorten the seed germination cycle and have now been found to colonize the surface of seeds, protecting them from infection. Worm Casts provide an organic alternative to synthetic pesticides, which are currently being used to coat seeds in the industry. Researchers are finding promising results where worm casts provide effective seed protecti on, while promoting a healthier seedling environment. Worm Castings and Soil Remediation As we saw previously in Soil Remediation with Cannabis, cannabis is extremely effective at taking up toxins from the soil. This is great when cannabis is used for bioremediation, but not desirable for plants being used for consumption. Worm castings are effective at holding toxins (such as heavy metals) in the soil, which benefits our plants by slowing down toxin absorption – yet another win for worm castings! One significant problem with worm castings, however, is that they are not all created equal. Earthworms take in decomposing material, along with whatever compounds are in their surroundings. If the soil contains toxic material, earthworms can become toxin vectors. This becomes a problem if the earthworms become a food source themselves, by moving toxins up the food chain. DDT is a synthetic insecticide now banned in many countries and is one toxin found to be passed through earthworms. Author Rachel Carson notes, “As few as 11 large earthworms can transfer a lethal dose of DDT to a robin. And 11 worms form a small part of a day’s rations to a bird that eats 10 to 12 earthworms in as many minutes.” And DDT is only one of many environmental contaminants. This alone highlights the need for a safe, organic environment when rearing worms, and the need for high-quality worm castings. The Tricky Nature of Growing Cannabis with Live Worms Hopefully, by now you’re convinced of the many benefits in using worm castings to grow organic cannabis. You really can’t go wrong! But you may be thinking, why not go straight to the source and use live worms? You certainly CAN use live worms in growing organic cannabis. Contrary to popular belief, earthworms only feed on decaying matter and are therefore no risk to your plants. If you’re confident in the quality of your soil, then using live worms can have numerous benefits. The problem with using living worms lies in keeping them in your growing area. Earthworms are happy in a constant environment, with balanced temperature, moisture, food and oxygen. However, this type of environment is not always ideal for cannabis growth. Nutrient adjustments and water flushes are often a part of the cannabis growing cycle, leading to instability in the worm’s habitat. Unfortunately, this instability most often results in earthworms burrowing away from the area. Worm Castings in BlueSky Organics Super Soil BlueSky Organics Super Soil is our pre-fertilized, ready-to-use growing medium. It contains 18 organic ingredients, including high-quality worm castings, allowing you to conveniently reap all of the benefits listed above. The benefits of organic growing are numerous and start with the soil itself, where your plants take root and obtain all of the nutrients they need. All of the 17 other ingredients in Super Soil also have a purpose. They are designed to aerate the soil, hold water, cultivate beneficial microbes, and ultimately boost the performance of your plants. BlueSky Organics also offers custom soil blends, for those growers with specific needs in indoor or outdoor growing environments. At BlueSky Organics we believe in using the ingredients that nature has provided for us, for the sustainable growth of premium organic cannabis. References Science Learning Hub Contributors (June, 2012). Charles Darwin and Earthworms. Science Learning Hub. https://www.sciencelearn.org.nz/resources/22-charles-darwin-and-earthworms Darwin, C. (Original text 1881, Digital September 2010). The Formation of Vegetable Mould Through the Action of Worms: With Observations on Their Habits. Appleton Publishers, sourced through the University of Chicago. https://books.google.ca/books?id=XWQQAQAAMAAJ&dq=worm+castings&lr=&source=gbs_navlinks_s Time Magazine Contributors(1941). Science. Praise for the Earthworm. Time Inc. http://content.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,765165,00.html Sumanthy, J.H., and Poornima, I. (February 2018). Wealth From Waste Through Worms in Thirukandalam. International Journal of Current Research. Vol 10.2 http://www.gmferd.com/journalcra.com/sites/default/files/20031.pdf Sinha, R.K., Herat, S., Agarwal, S., Asadi, R., Carretero, E. (September, 2002) Vermiculture and waste management: study of action of earthworms Elsinia foetida, Eudrilus euginae and Perionyx excavatus on biodegradation of some community wastes in India and Australia. Environmentalist. Vol 22.3. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1023/A:1016583929723 Edwards, C.A., Bohlen, P.J. (1996). Biology and Ecology of Earthworms – Volume 3. Springer Science and Business Media. https://books.google.ca/books?id=ad4rDwD_GhsC&dq=earthworms&lr=&source=gbs_navlinks_s Ugwoke, A.O., Ugwuanya, R. (2017). Bioremediation of domestic organic wastes using earthworm (Eudrilus eugenia). International Journal of Arts and Sciences: Engineering, Health, Pure and Applied Sciences. Vol 2.1. http://imtijotas.org.ng/node/122 Zanella, A., Ponge, J., Briones, M.J.I (January 2018). Terrestrial humus systems and forms – Biological activity and soil aggregates, space-time dynamics. Applied Soil Ecology. Vol 122.1 https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0929139317300409 Lenet, R. (2007). Earthworms https://www.sas.upenn.edu/~rlenet/Earthworms.html RHS Contributors. (2018). Worm Casts in Lawns https://www.rhs.org.uk/advice/profile?PID=806 Gohil, P. et al. (2018). Role of Growing Media for Ornamental Pot Plants. International Journal of Pure and Applied Bioscience http://www.ijpab.com/form/2018%20Volume%206,%20issue%201/IJPAB-2018-6-1-1219-1224.pdf Islam, S. et al. (2012). Effects of organic fertilizer on the growth and yield of lettuce (Lactuca sativa L.) used as vegetables. International Journal of Agricultural Science and Research. Vol. 2 https://www.researchgate.net/publication/232321766_Effects_of_organic_fertilizer_on_the_growth_and_yield_of_lettuce_Lactuca_sativa_L_used_as_vegetables Singh, J.(2018). Role of Earthworm in Sustainable AgricultureSustainable Food Systems from Agriculture to Industry. P83-122 https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/B9780128119358000032 Martin, L. (December 2012). Got Worms? Vermicompost provides plant nutrients, improves soilSouthwest Environment https://swes.cals.arizona.edu/environmental_writing/stories/fall2012/martin.html Cannabis Training University Contributors (2018). Got Worms? The Benefits of Earthworm Castings to Your Cannabis PlantsCannabis Training University https://cannabistraininguniversity.com/the-benefits-of-earthworm-castings-to-your-cannabis-plants/ Ersahin, Y. (November 2010). The Use of Vermicompost Products to Control Plant Diseases and PestsBiology of Earthworms. P191-213 https://www.researchgate.net/publication/226991413_The_Use_of_Vermicompost_Products_to_Control_Plant_Diseases_and_Pests Hahn, G.E. (November 2002). Methods of using worm castings for insect repellency https://patents.google.com/patent/US20020090669A1/en The Wormery Contributors. Worm Castings – Part IV – Disease Suppressionhttps://www.wormfarmingsecrets.com/worm-castings/worm-castings-part-iv-disease-suppression/ Simple Soil Contributors. Are Worm Castings the Best Fertilizer for Marijuana Growers? https://www.simplegrowsoil.com/pages/are-worm-castings-the-best-fertilizer-for-marijuana-growers Munzer, A. (December 2011). Worm compost can suppress plant disease, regulate nutrients, research findsCornell Chronicle http://news.cornell.edu/stories/2011/12/research-worm-compost-can-suppress-plant-disease Tasteful Garden Contributors. Worm Castings – What are they? How do they work?https://www.tastefulgarden.com/Worm-Castings-d114.htm Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment (1999). Canadian soil quality guidelines for the protection of environmental and human health: DDT (total) Environmental quality guidelines http://ceqg-rcqe.ccme.ca/download/en/265?redir=1546140738 Pathma, J., and Sakthivel, N. (2012). Microbial diversity of vermicompost bacteria that exhibit useful agricultural traits and waste management potential Springerplus. 1:26 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3725894/ Hennings, T. (2017). How and When to Flush Cannabis PlantsLeafly Growing https://www.leafly.com/news/growing/flush-cannabis *all retrieved on December 28th, 2018

Worm castings cannabis

Worm Castings “or Earth Worm Castings”, how do they work & what are they? What are their uses: Use for Trees, Shrubs, Vegetables, flowers and everything in between.

Earth Worm Castings 1-1-1 & %100 ORGANIC

Introduction To Worm Castings:

Worm castings are one of the richest natural fertilizer known to man. That’s right: as little as a tablespoon of pure worm castings provides enough organic plant nutrients to feed a 6″ potted plant for more than two months “on its own”.

It is believed that worm castings on their own have the possibility to stimulate plant growth more than any other natural product on the market.
Unlike animal manure and artificial fertilizers it is easily absorbed by plants. But Worm Castings don’t only stimulate plant growth: they also enhance the ability of your soil to retain water (because of its texture), and it even inhibits root diseases such as root rot.

Purchase your worm castings at MMAD Hydroponics, we are now stocking multiple size bags for your convenience. We can even provide you with tote boxes full of castings, and everything in between. We’ll even get you tons if you are looking for large quantities. mmad.ca

What Are Worm Castings?

Worm Castings contain a highly active biological mixture of bacteria, enzymes, remnants of plant matter and animal manure, as well as earthworm cocoons (while damp). The castings are rich in water-soluble plant nutrients, and contain more than 50% more humus than what is normally found in topsoil.

Worm Castings are packed with lots of minerals that are essential for plant growth, minerals such as concentrated nitrates, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium and calcium. It also contains manganese, copper, zinc, cobalt, borax, iron, carbon and nitrogen. However, the best of all is that these minerals are immediately available to the plant, without the risk of ever burning the plant. Remember that animal manure and chemical fertilizers have to be broken down in the soil before the plant can absorb them “that’s where the worms come in”.

As the organic matter moves through the alimentary canal of the earthworm, a thin layer of oil is deposited on the castings. This layer erodes over a period of 2 months. So although the plant nutrients are immediately available, they are slowly released to last longer. The cocoons in Worm Castings each contain between 2 and 10 eggs that hatch within 2 weeks. This means that the process of decomposition are continued by the young earthworms in the soil, provided that the soil is loose, damp and rich enough in organic matter for the worms to stay alive.
“The worms do all the worm”

The bacteria in the alimentary canal of the earthworm transforms organic waste to natural fertilizer. The chemical changes that the organic wastes undergo include deodorizing and neutralizing. This means that the pH of the castings is 7 (neutral) and the castings are odorless (they smell like a forest after rain). The worm castings also contain the bacteria, so the process is continued in the soil, and microbiological activity is promoted.

What Can Worm Castings Be Used For?

Worm Castings can be used as an ingredient of potting soil (as plant nutrients) for plants in and around the house. It can also be used as a planting additive for trees, vegetables, shrubs and flowers including the medical marijuana community “they love using this stuff”. When used as mulching material, Worm Castings will ensure that the minerals are absorbed directly into the soil when it is watered. Because Worm Castings will never burn plants, you can use as much of it as you like.

The Benefits Of Using Worm Castings:

  1. The humus in the worm castings extracts toxins and harmful fungi and bacteria from the soil. Worm Castings therefore have the ability to fight off plant diseases.
  2. The worm castings have the ability to fix heavy metals in organic waste. This prevents plants from absorbing more of these chemical compounds than they need. These compounds can then be released later when the plants need them.
  3. Worm Castings act as a barrier to help plants grow in soil where the pH levels are too high or too low. They prevent extreme pH levels from making it impossible for plants to absorb nutrients from the soil.
  4. The humic acid in Worm Castings stimulate plant growth, even in very low concentrations. The humic acid is in an ionic-ally distributed state in which it can easily be absorbed by the plant, over and above any normal mineral nutrients. Humic acid also stimulates the development of micro flora populations in the soil.
  5. Worm Castings increase the ability of soil to retain water. The worm castings form aggregates, which are mineral clusters that combine in such a way that they can withstand water erosion and compaction, and also increase water retention.
  6. Worm Castings reduce the acid-forming carbon in the soil, and increase the nitrogen levels in a state that the plant can easily use. Organic plant wastes usually have a carbon-nitrogen ratio of more than 20 to 1. Because of this ratio, the nitrogen is unavailable to plants, and the soil around the organic waste becomes acidic.

Recommendations and Quotes about Worm Castings

“Worm Castings work well on their own or when used along with commercial fertilizers.

The key factor is microbial activity. Research that has been done, shows that microbial activity in worm castings is 10 to 20 times higher than in the soil and the organic matter that the worm ingests. “

“Earthworm castings are believed to be one of the best potting soil additions for greenhouses or house plants, as well as gardening and farming. On its own it will not burn even the most delicate plants and all nutrients held within are water-soluble, making it an immediate plant food. The effect of earthworm castings used in any of the means spoken of on this page will show great results within 2 – 3 days “clearly visible”. They make plants grow fast and strong.”

“Castings contain 5 times the available nitrogen, 7 times the available potash and 1 1/2 times more calcium than that found in 12” of topsoil. Therefore, castings “on their own” are supplied with available nutrients.
The nutrients are also water-soluble and immediately available to the plant. You will find that most potting soils have a nutrient life for 2 to 5 days, where worm castings will last up to 6 times longer. You will need 5 times as much potting soil to do the same job as worm castings. So in the long run, worm castings are much cheaper and do a much better job. Also, castings hold 2 to 3 times their weight in water. “Note: In some applications the use of perlite could be used for additional drainage”

That means you water less and the pot will stay damper for a longer period. Worm castings will not burn your plants; unlike using any fresh raw manure (cow, horse, pig, mink, etc.) which can burn root systems if not applied properly. . . . The manure passes through the worms’ digestive system producing rich organic plant food and a slow releasing fertilizer which allows for better distribution growth by-product.”

How to use Worm Castings:

For Germination

Use 20 to 30% Worm Castings with sand and or peat, as an excellent germination mixture. It will also ensure continuous nutrient intake for “some say” up to three months” Note: When using / adding worm castings in your soil mix in addition to your regular nutrient regime, your plants with thrive. .

Use as A Soil Conditioner

If you hoe a layer of barren soil, or lay your own soil mix “we use Sunshine Mix #4” and add a layer of Worm Castings and give it some water, you will be surprised at the growth of your first season’s plants.

Use Worm Castings Along With Your Fertilizer

Just sprinkle your worm castings around the base of plants and or lightly mix it in, and then add your nutrient water mixture. You could also spread on a large scale with your spreader.

Use Worm Castings As A Worm Tea Or Liquid Fertilizer

Worm Castings can easily be mixed with water. In a one gallon container drop in 1 cup Worm Castings and mix “or shake”, and let it sit for a few days to one week. This liquid mixture can be used on its own or along with your fertilizer or even as a foliar spray.

The human race has known for hundreds of years that earthworms are a great way to improve plant growth, quality of edible products in addition to increasing your plants yields, such as vegetables, fruit etc. Earthworm castings are a wonder product of nature. So if you care about your soil, and your plants, then now is the time to try worm castings and get impressed, you won’t be sorry you did. Why not try a 100% natural product.

________________________________________________________

Exterior plants:
Spread “minimum” one cup on to the soil between / around the base of the stem or trunk of the plant, mix in, water.

Potted plants:
Spread “minimum” one cup on to the soil, mix in water. Alternative: Mix in directly “when potting” in your soil mix, mix well water. “You cannot put too much, we apply to our potted plants 4 to 1 with great success “4 part soil mix, 1 part worm castings”. You decide your own application.
Worm Castings are used both for indoor and outdoor plants alike, results may vary depending on multiple factors such as; type of soil, amount used, temperature fluctuations, pH levels, light and the type of plant being cultivated.

Note:
Try Worm Castings for successful plant production, it’s just that simple, TRY IT.

Guaranteed minimal analysis: NPK 1-1-1

MMAD Hydroponics Worm Castings, indoor and outdoor selection of fertilizers. . ]]>