Worms provide us with some of the best ways possible to organically fertilize, nurture, and protect our gardens. We wanted all the dirt on worms, so we asked worm expert Becky Halphin of Windswept Worm Farm in Blue Springs, MO, to help us understand the value of worms.
Halphin says that worms save gardeners time and money, as well as allowing us to eliminate harmful chemicals from the garden. Making sure plenty of worms call your garden home is one of the most valuable things you can do for your plot.
Worms live in the dirt, so shouldn’t there already be plenty of worms in your garden soil? Here’s why there probably is not.
Where Have all the Worms Gone?
Unless your soil is in great condition, you won’t find an abundance of worms there. Sure, there will be a few, but not enough to provide many benefits for your growing garden.
In the past, there may have been numerous chemical applications done to your soil. Every chemical application, whether it was to fertilize, kill weeds or get rid of pesky insects, damaged your soil by killing off necessary microorganisms, making the soil a less healthy environment for worms. If there is an option, any living creature will leave an unhealthy environment, so if your soil is lacking the nutrients provided by microorganisms, most worms will pack up and go.
How Worm Castings Work in the Garden
A worm’s work begins by tilling the soil. They burrow through the dirt, creating tunnels as they go. These tunnels allow air and moisture to move through the soil with ease, establishing a healthy home for your plants.
Next, worms create worm castings, another name for worm excrement. Worm castings, also known as vermicompost, are the perfect soil conditioner, helping the ground retain moisture, aiding plants with healthy growth, and helping them stay disease free and avoid insect damage.
In an article by Doug Halphin, he says, ” Worms are nature’s way of returning organic material back to the soil so the plants can use it again. The process of passing materials through the digestive tract of the worm is what makes it the best soil amendment money could buy. ”
He goes on to tell us, ” Research has concluded that by adding as little as 10% (worm castings) by volume seed germination increased over 50%. By adding as little as 20% by volume to potting or garden soil plant size increased by 48 to 50 percent, production of fruit by up to 50% and size and weight of produce by up to 19%.” Those are impressive statistics. After all, if you are going to do the work to create a garden, you want to get the most from it.
Worm Compost Tea Time
Humans have experienced the benefits of a soothing cup of tea for centuries and plants relish a cup of tea as well…worm tea, that is. By applying worm castings in a tea form, you protect your plants from damaging insects. Becky Halphin says worm tea kills insects that have an external skeleton, like beetles, fleas, mosquitoes, aphids and others. And the best part? It’s all natural. You don’t have to fear letting children or pets in the yard or garden even immediately after applying worm tea like you would if you used chemicals. There is no chemical residue, so there is no danger.
If you would like to harvest the benefits of worms in your garden, get 100% organic worm castings to add to your soil so it’s a healthy environment for worms. You can also start a worm bin to create your own worm castings. There’s an added benefit to growing your own worms. Every pound of worms you own can eat 5-7 pounds of your food scraps each week, so not only will you be gardening organically, you’ll also be reducing the amount of food you send to the garbage dump. Worms are nature’s own organic gardeners, so why not put their expertise to work for you? The results will make you wiggle in delight.
Originally posted 2010-05-13 10:08:11. Republished by Blog Post Promoter