EARTHWORMS - Nature's Greatest Fertilizer Explained
Even in the unpredictable climate of Colorado there is no denying that it is officially time to put your gloves on, air up the wheel barrel and get your precious seedlings ready for transplanting into your outdoor garden. Remember to harden off your plants by putting them outside for only a few hours a day before committing to planting them in the ground. Take about a week or so harding off your plants to make sure they will be strong enough to withstand the climate fluctuations of the great outdoors. This will give you enough time to get your garden bed tilled up and amended properly to ensure a successful garden season!
When it comes to amending your garden's soil most experts will agree that there is no substitute for adding compost. Today I want to talk about taking your compost to the next level with the addition of natures greatest compost, earthworm castings. Essentially earthworm casting are compost, these special castings are the end-product of the breakdown of organic matter by a one or more species of earthworms. However, compared to a traditional backyard compost earthworm castings come with some significant advantages. For example, they have been shown to contain reduced levels of contaminants and a higher saturation of nutrients. Another highly valuable property of earthworm castings is the earthworm mucus that it contains. Unlike traditional compost, worm mucus helps prevent nutrients from washing away with the first watering and holds moisture even better. It also helps to lock in a percentage of the available nutrients creating a slow release fertilizer that gently nourishes your plants over time. Now that you know what the differences between earthworm castings and traditional compost are let's take a look at some of the basic overall benefits that amending these castings into your garden soil will bring you. These basic benefits include...
- It Improves the physical structure of your garden soil
- It enriches soil with micro-organisms, adding enzymes and plant hormones
- It attracts deep-burrowing earthworms, already present in the soil, to nest within your garden (bringing you even more castings straight from the source)
- It improves the water holding capacity of your soil
- It enhances germination, plant growth, and crop yield as well as root growth
Of course earthworm castings can be mixed directly into your soil, however another highly effective method for instant results is to steep the casting in water and make them into a worm tea, bubbling the water and castings in oxygen with a small air pump, and letting them steep for a number of hours or even a day or two. By aerated the tea with the air pump the microbial activity of the compost will become much greater. At that point, the resulting worm tea liquid can be applied to the soil as a genuine organic liquid fertilizer or sprayed directly onto the plants as a foliar spray.
It is easy to see now how valuable a resource an inexpensive bag of earthworm castings can be for you and your garden. The benefits of earthworm castings stack up against traditional compost and especially against the NPK heavy fertilizer that most gardeners use. With all these benefits and the fact that they also help reduce environmental waste and consumption I hope you will give them a try this year providing your garden the gift of the earthworm, truly nature's greatest organic fertilizer! If you do I promise you will be amazed with the results as you sit back and enjoy your lush green garden habitat.
Oh course I wouldn't promote a resourse so highly without giving all you garden enthusiast a place to easiely pick up some of your own earthworm castings. Come on down to Victory and grab a 30lb bag of pure organic castings for yourself for only $16.95. Thats a heck of spring deal considering these normally go for around $34.95 anywhere else. And even if a 30lb bag seems to much for your needs we carry a 4.5lb bag for only $6.95. Hope to see you all soon and happy gardening!