How to use your worm liquid and castings
Let’s delve into how to get the best value out of the worm castings and liquid fertilizer that your worm farm generates These byproducts of vermicomposting are rich in nutrients and beneficial microorganisms, making them a powerhouse for your plants' growth and health.
Worm farming is one of the simplest and most efficient ways to compost your kitchen scraps and turn them into one of the best and most balanced organic fertilisers you can get. The best bit of all is that it is all for free and at the same time you will be reducing your carbon footprint significantly whilst keeping a valuable organic resource out of landfill. Using the fertiliser your worm farm can provide to grow your own food such as leafy greens will extend the benefits to your personal health and wellbeing, both physical and mental.
Worm Castings: Black Gold for Your Plants
Worm castings are the end product after the worms have digested the various organic materials that you feed them, the worms chew up the food and as it passes through their gut the complex organic molecules are broken down to release nutrients such as nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus in an available form for your plants. As well as recycling these essential nutrients, the worms also turn the carbon in the organic materials into humus, a fantastic soil amendment that improves soil structure, moisture and nutrient retention. Mix the castings into your garden soil or potting mix to enhance its fertility and provide a steady release of nutrients to your plants. A good way to apply the sometimes ‘gooey’ castings is to put a few scoops in a watering can and stir it into a slurry and water it on to the soil so it can wash down. Take the rose of the end of the watering can so it does not clog up.
Seed Starting and Transplanting: When starting seeds or transplanting seedlings, incorporate worm castings into the planting holes or seed trays. The gentle nutrients and beneficial microorganisms in the castings provide a nurturing environment for young plants, promoting healthy root development and growth. To make it easier to incorporate a good strategy is to dry out the castings and crumble them up so they can be spread more easily.
Top Dressing: Apply a thin layer of worm castings around the base of established plants. This top dressing acts as a slow-release fertilizer, supplying nutrients directly to the root zone. It also improves soil moisture retention and stimulates beneficial microbial activity. Once again, the slurry method is perhaps the easiest way to do this.
Compost Tea: Steep Put a few handfuls of worm castings into an old pillow slip or hessian sack and steep in a bucket of water for 24 to 48 hours to create a nutrient-rich compost tea. Use this tea as a foliar spray or soil drench to provide a boost of nutrients and beneficial microbes to your plants. Dilute the tea with water so that you can see through it to avoid overwhelming the plants with too much nutrients at once.
Worm Farm Liquid: Liquid Gold for Plant Nutrition
Liquid Fertilizer: Collect the liquid that drains from your worm farm, often called "worm juice" or "worm leachate." Dilute it with water at a ratio of approximately 1:10 (1 part liquid to 10 parts water) to create a nutrient-rich liquid fertilizer. Use this fertilizer to water your plants, providing them with a direct supply of nutrients.
Foliar Spray: Dilute the worm farm liquid further, typically at a ratio of 1:20 (1 part liquid to 20 parts water), and use it as a foliar spray. Spray the diluted liquid directly on the leaves of your plants, allowing them to absorb the nutrients through their foliage. This foliar feeding provides a quick nutrient boost and can improve plant health and vitality.
Seed Soaking: Soak seeds in a diluted solution of worm farm liquid before planting. The liquid can help activate the seed's germination process and provide a gentle nutrient boost to support early growth.
Tips for Using Worm Farm Byproducts:
Dilution: When using worm farm liquid or compost tea, always dilute it to avoid over-fertilizing your plants. This prevents the risk of nutrient burn and allows for a more controlled application.
Application Frequency: Apply worm castings, liquid fertilizer, or compost tea regularly, but avoid excessive application. Generally, once every couple of weeks in the warmer months or monthly in winter is sufficient to provide a steady supply of nutrients to your plants.
Storage: Store worm castings in a cool, dry place to maintain their nutrient content and prevent moisture buildup. Keep the liquid fertilizer or compost tea in a covered container to prevent evaporation and maintain its potency but best to use it within a couple of weeks of making it.
Worm castings and liquid from your worm farm are invaluable resources for sustainable gardening and the tools at your disposal have never been better. Tumbleweed has a range of worm farming options such as the Worm Cube for indoor use to the Can’o’worms and Worm Café for outdoors, so get on our website and explore the best option for your particular household. Harness the power of worms to not only make a difference to the environment, but to also turbocharge your garden with free recycled organic fertiliser!