Research supporting use of worm castings for growing plants
There is a lot of scientific research on the uses and effects of earthworm composting. A great resource for those wanting to investigate details is Vermiculture Technology: Earthworms, Organic Wastes, and Environmental Management edited by Clive A Edwards, Norman Q. Arancon, and Rhonda Sherman. Here are some highlights:
About choosing the type of worm for composting, according to the “Biology and Ecology of Earthworm Species used for Worm Composting” by Jorge Dominguez and Clive Edwards, Eisenia Fetida ” are most commonly used in vermicomposting and vermiculture mainly because they are ubiquitous with a world wide distribution and colonize organic substrates naturally, their life cycles are short, they have a wide temperature- and moisture-tolerance range, and they are resilient earthworms that can be readily handled”.
Benefits of using vermicompost for growing plants is discussed in “Quality Criteria for Vermicomposts” by Edwards, Arancon, and Scott Subler. They state that “because the material passes through the earthworm gut at least once, a significant but not fully understood transformation takes place, whereby the resulting earthworm castings are extremely abundant in microbial activity and plant growth regulators and fortified with pest-repellency attributes as well. “
In an article illustrating increases in plant growth of plants grown in red wiggler compost, “Vermicomposts as Growth Media in Greenhouse Crop Production” by Arancon, Edwards, Katie A Webster, and John C. Buckerfield, they state, “Improvements in the growth and development of greenhouse crops after addition of vermicomposts, result in much greater economic returns to the grower, due to faster germination rates, earlier flowering, larger yields and better quality crops”. Crops studied included peas, lettuces, wheat, cabbages, tomatoes, peppers, raspberries, radishes, chrysanthemums, and petunias.
About studies of insect repellency of plants grown in vermicompost, there is an article in the book by Edwards, Ahmed M. Askar, Marcus A. Vasco-Bennet, and Arancon called “Suppression of Arthropod Pests and Plant Parasitic Nematodes by Vermicomposts and Aqueous Extracts from Vermicomposts”. The authors state: “Our results demonstrate that substitution of solid vermicomposts into (growing mix) MM360 had considerable influence on the intensity of attacks by aphids, mealybugs, spider mites, cucumber beetles, and tobacco hornworms”.
It is encouraging to note that improved crop performance is often optimized by using a soil mix containing 20% vermicompost with your regular potting mix or garden soil! So harvest your red wiggler castings and add them to your garden as is or mix with water to make a fertilizing tea!
For more information about red wiggler worms, including their life cycle, go to Worm Facts.
The Effectivity of Using Worms in Plant Growth
When people are taught about plant cultivation, they are often advised to make use of earthworms to make their plants healthier. Many people do this without actually knowing why they are actually helpful in plant growth. Instead, they just do it and see that their plants are really growing healthy like how they were told.
With the help of Red Wiggler Supply, we can provide you with the earthworms that you need. Before anything else, let us first show you some of the advantages that earthworms have for your growing plants. By knowing these, you will finally know the answer to why they are really important.
They loosen the soil
Plants grow better if the soil is not that compact. That way, their roots will have a place to grow in. Earthworms, once placed in plants, burrow through the soil. This creates mini tunnels in the soil, thus preventing them from being too compact.
With loose soil, water can also flow better into the plant, ensuring that there is enough moisture for the plant. Therefore, it can grow deeper and stronger roots.
They mix the soil
It is in the nature of earthworms to keep on burrowing deep. As they do that, they unknowingly mix the organic materials and the soil particles that are on the other layers of the soil. With that, they help distribute the nutrients and minerals that can be found on certain layers of the soil.
They minimize your use of chemical fertilizers
Instead of using chemical fertilizers, using earthworms can minimize the amount that you spend on your plants. Also, making use of worms encourages you to embrace natural plant cultivation instead of using chemicals. It is not encouraged to use fertilizers while using worms. This is because the chemicals can decrease the number of worms on your soil.
They are natural fertilizers
Yes, earthworms are natural fertilizers. In fact, their waste is well-enriched with phosphorus. This is called a worm casting. Their waste is a by-product of the soil and the organic materials that they eat per day. The plant also absorbs the earthworms’ nitrogen once they die and decompose.
They distribute microbes
Aside from mixing the soil, earthworms are also capable of distributing organic materials throughout the soil. By doing this, the microbes are given the chance to break down these materials for the plant. It also helps microbes multiply, making it an advantage for better plant growth.
Overall, there are a lot of amazing things that earthworms have in store for plants. By knowing their advantages, we hope that you are convinced that you should use them the next time you plant. If you do, then we can assure you that your plant’s healthy growth will be organic.