How to use wormcastings                                                  

                                  What are wormcastings ?

                                   What is worm leachate ?

                                   What is vermicast ?

                                   How to use it on houseplants.

                                   How to use it in the garden.

                                   How to use it in the nursery.

                                   How to use worm leachate.

                                                           What are wormcastings ?

        The sorting table I use, to separate  worms and wormcastings from the raw vermicast .

   Wormcastings are the feaces of worms, you will see these on your lawn when it threatens to be raining soon and shortly after the
   rain has come down, or early in the morning; they look like little black heaps of soil.
   I grow the worms in my wormfarm, and the castings are a by-product of the wormbreeding industry.

   The castings are full of all the minerals which were in the foodstuff which are fed to the worms, the castings also have microbes
   which are essential to the worms, to digest the food, and are shed out with the feaces.

   It is therefore important, to wash your hands after handling wormcastings, especially children and older people.

   Wormcastings have compounds, which are easily taken up by the roots of your plants, very soluble, as compared to most
   commercial fertilisers and also compost from the compost heap.

   It follows, that wormcastings are a fast medium for growing plants, but not as long lasting as compost and other fertilisers,
   and is absolutely safe using over the plants in the garden, it does NOT BURN  [ like some fertilisers ] if it hits the leaves.


                                                        What is worm leachate ?
     You can see my drainage system here; incidently the picture also shows the covering of the wormbeds. 

Worm leachate is the fluid which drains from the bottom of the wormbed ; worms need a coating of water around the body to enable them to move around so it is essential to water the beds carefully, not too much, but certainly not too little.
that moisture finds its way down to the bottom of the box, and then drains to a receptacle at the end of the shed.
The shed has been built on a slight slope, so that there is enough fall to do this in several places along the drain.

The leachate can also be produced by setting up a drainage box, fill it with wormcastings or vermicast, and collect the fluid from a tap in the bottom of the box.
To get a good strong quality of leachate, you should re-use the collected fluid by pouring it through several times in the unit.

The leachate is richer in minerals and microlife than wormcastings that is why it needs mixing with water when in use.

Worm leachate is sometimes called "wormjuice" or "wormpiss", it is not coming from the worms so those names are incorrect.

                                                                What is vermicast ?
      I use a bucket to collect the vermicast when the worms have finished filling the box. 

Vermicast is the raw material left in the worm boxes, when the worms have been working in them
for about twelve- to eighteen months of feeding and looking after them by the wormfarmer.
The worms can be collected
by several methods before the vermicast is harvested; you can read all about that
in the wormfarming-information part of the website .

Vermicast has some of the food and impalatable stuff, the worms have not processed yet, so it can contain sticks, shells, bones
milkbottle tops, plastic bread ties, plastic paper-shreddings [ from shiny advertising pages ] etc.
There is nothing wrong with vermicast,
but it is not as easily packed and sold as the wormcastings
which have been sorted out and screened with hand-sorting and/or machinery.

We sell it in bulk for use in the garden, especially recommended for starting a garden from scratch, to make it fertile.
It can be used for building up and maintaining the fertility of a rundown garden as well.

                                                               How to use it on houseplants.
     Potted plants benefit from a weekly- or forthnightly dose of a spoonful of wormcast.

Just give them from 1 teaspoon- to a desertspoonful of pure wormcastings a week according to the size of the plant.
You must water it in well for it to start feeding your plant.

If you have plants, which are somewhat spindly, they will improve with this treatment by developing a squatness in time.
You may have to restart the growth if they are very spindly and thin, by trimming them down before feeding the wormcastings,
to give them opportunity to "pull up their socks" and start behaving to your satisfaction.

I have had great success with an outside box in front of a shop, which had geraniums growing up and not out.
I gave them a handful of wormcastings and then listened to the comments from the customers to the shop who did see the difference in about three weeks.

I use pure wormcastings when I set up a hanging planting, and the plants are never set back, and come away vigorously.
Sickly plants will recover if you transplant them into a pot with pure wormcastings for a while until they have recovered ,
then transplant them back in ordinary pottingmix and keep feeding them with wormcast every week.
It is most important, to water well at all times.


                                               How to use it in the garden.
     Using wormcastings when sowing or planting in the  open ground.    

After choosing where you are going to plant seedlings, use a string to mark your row, then use a small hoe to make a trench about
the depth of the roots you have on the plants already, say about 7 cm deep, and wide enough to set out the roots comfortably.
Fill the trench with vermicast or better still with wormcastings, then plant your seedlings straight out of the punnet
by [ carefully ] spreading the roots [ I have planted without disturbing the roots, straight from the punnet ],
and then using the soil you displaced with the hoe to cover the roots, and firming the soil down.
As always water well for a few days, to get the seedlings establishing fast, without wilting too much.

If you are sowing seeds in the open ground, do the same as for planting seedlings; make a trench, and fill it with vermicast
or wormcastings, cover with the replaced soil, and firm it down.
Next cut it open again to twice the depth of the seeds, put in the seeds, and cover it with soil, firm it down,
and jump back before the seeds come up and grow through your boots.
The young plants don't stop growing until they are established, then use more wormcastings, to bring them to maturity for harvsting.  
( this process is absolutely "Organic", unless some one tells you to use more fertiliser from the shop. )

As normally is done, water the seedbed as required according to the weather; if the packet says "do not water" then don't.

                                                                 How to use it in the nursery.
       Starting seedlings, and recovery of sickly plants.

A mixture of two parts sand and 4 parts pure wormcastings is a useful mix for seed trays.
Moisten well before use, then a few days later, sow your seeds the normal way, and put the tray on a lightly heated pad in the early spring, or in the cold frame out in the garden for the autumn seedlings.
I am experimenting with the mix of leachate to use for insect repellent, to counteract any small insects attacking the seedlings as they emerge, so watch this website when I get the results of my experiment next year.

As the seedmix is rather rich, watch the growth-rate of the seedlings; transplant them smartly if they are growing too fast.
Transplanting is best done in punnets, fill them with pure wormcastings, and watch them grow into sturdy seedlings.
Watch for insect attacks, and stop them from getting the taste of the young plants .

Sickly plants will recover quickly in a pot filled with wormcastings, after recovery it would be a good idea,
to transplant them into a different environment as they were in before they deteriorated.

My neighbor dug a hole 100 cm deep into the [ pumice ] base soil on my section,
and I refilled the hole with composting material, mainly grass and clippings.
As usual I covered the resulting site with a layer of garden soil about 30 cm thick, and planted silverbeet on it.
As you can expect, the silverbeet did not grow very well, due to the composting taking all the nutrients;
after three months watching this, I decided to try wormcastings, so a handful went around each plant every week.
The  results convinced me to the wisdom to keep going with my hobby of growing worms.
The last 8 years of using
only wormcasings  in  my garden has now made it "organic" I believe. 

                                                                  How to use worm leachate.

               Worm-leachate  can be used in two methods :

   I sell it in bottles [ sometimes called "wormjuice" or "wormpiss" ] you can see them on the floor in the picture.

   1.As a supplement for feeding your plants, in pots, the garden or even in the plant nursery.
   You make a solution of 1 part leachate to 10 parts pure [ preferably not from the tap ] water,
   and you can water the plants with it without fear of burning the leaves,
   but it is better, and possibly more effective, to just pour it around the plants under the leaves.
   You will see the results quickly, even if it does not rain after application.

   2. The other method, is to use it as an insect repellent ( not an insect killer ).
   The solution proportions are 1 part leachate to 100 parts of water.
   Put the mixture in a sprayer, and spray the whole plant with that, as it will not burn the leaves, it is quite safe to do that.
   You will find, that most insects do not like the smell and/or touch of the leachate-mix, and will stay away from your plants.

   I have used it above the cabbage plants, on a sunny day; the white butterflies came looking for a place to deposit their eggs,
   but sheered off before reaching the cabbage plants.
   Unfortunately, the spay evaporated quickly in the sun, and I had to stand over the plants all day, to stop the butterflies.
   It works very well in repelling the little white bugs on tomatoe plants.