Worm compost planting experiment

Inspired by studies showing the benefit of soaking seeds in a worm compost mixture, I decided to try my own experiment. Being early November, I decided to try red wiggler compost on my cover crop, fava beans. Here was what I did today:

First, I shoveled a small amount of compost out of the finished tray of the Worm Factory. The main inputs were kitchen scraps, shredded newspaper, and red wiggler worms.

First, I shoveled a small amount of compost out of the finished tray of a Worm Factory. The main inputs were kitchen scraps, shredded newspaper, and red wiggler worms.

Next I added worm compost into half of the fava beans. There are 48 beans in each container.

Next I added worm compost into half of the fava beans. There are 48 beans in each container.

Next, tap water was added to both containers and the beans were left to soak for 2 hours.

Next, lukewarm tap water was added to both containers and the beans were left to soak for 2 hours.

The beans were planted in a bed prepared with regular compost. On the east side of the yard, the worm compost-soaked beans were planted closest to the fence. On the west side, the water soaked beans were closest to the fence.

The beans were planted in a bed prepared with regular compost. On the east side of the yard, the worm compost-soaked beans were planted closest to the fence. On the west side, the water soaked beans were closest to the fence.

The soil was tamped over top. Now to wait for the beans to sprout.

The soil was tamped over top. Now to wait for the beans to sprout to see if adding red wiggler worm compost improves growth of this fall cover crop.

Update on Dec. 5, 2013. I’ll have to try this experiment again in the spring. Before anything could sprout the ground froze 🙁

Update on January 6, 2014: The beans did sprout after all! We had some mild weather in December and they’re coming up. I should be able to count them pretty soon…

Update on January 27, 2014:

The Fava Beans planted in November as a cover crop (or if the winter stays mild a spring crop) sprouted in December and are surviving the cold rain and frost.

The Fava Beans planted in November as a cover crop (or if the winter stays mild a spring crop) sprouted in December and January and are surviving the cold rain and frost.


Out of 96 fava beans planted in the fall, 61 sprouted. (Germination rate of 63.5 %). Here is the breakdown: beans soaked in worm casting tea: 32 sprouted (66.6%), beans soaked in plain water: 29 (60.4%). Not much difference to speak of. We'll try tomato seeds next.

Out of 96 fava beans planted in the fall, 61 sprouted. (Germination rate of 63.5 %). Here is the breakdown: beans soaked in worm casting tea: 32 sprouted (66.6%), beans soaked in plain water: 29 (60.4%). Not a very significant difference to speak of. We’ll monitor their growth, and also try tomato seeds.

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