Worm castings or vermicompost are amongst
the best organic plant foods and soil conditioners known to man. Vermicompost is actually just a fancy name for worm poop.
As compost worms move through their worm bin they consume large quantities of organic matter (up to half their body weight per day) digest they food and deposit it usually on top of their bedding.
While they digest their food they enrich it greatly with calcium,
magnesium, phosphates and nitrogen.
In addition to that vermicompost contains up to 20 times more beneficial
microorganisms than the organic matter they consume.
It is water soluble and releases its
nutrients slowly to the plants as the plants need them. Castings will improve the water holding capacity of soil and will never burn plants. They improve the soil structure and their nutrients are available to surrounding plants straight away.
We had spectacular results when growing fruit and vegetables in soil consisting to 80% of sand and just a 20% addition of Vermicompost.
Rocket lettuce grown in sandy soil that has been enriched with worm castings
One single tomato plant bore more than 500 tomatoes over a period
of 3 month!
Spinach plants grew up to 50 cm / 20 inches high and yielded
beautiful tasting leaves for more than 4 month.
Swiss Chard grown with the help of earthworms and castings
Worm castings have a crumbly structure...
... and are dark brown. This is one of
the reasons why they are quite often called “Black Gold" as well. They can be mixed with other soil conditioning products like
compost or kelp to produce additional soil improving products for gardeners and nurseries. Vermicompost is usually harvested once or twice per year from worm
bins. Your worm farm should be nearly full before you consider harvesting your
About one month before you want to harvest stop feeding the worm bin just
monitor the correct moisture levels and let the worms in the bed finish the
remaining food in the bed completely. 2 to 3 days before the planned harvest add a layer of fresh food on top
of the surface of your worm bin and cover it again. The hungry worms will soon
get hold of the new food and will nearly all be close to the surface of their
bed on harvesting day.
A pile of fresh worm castings
Remove all the food from the top of the worm bin plus an additional
layer of about 5 cm / 2 inches of castings and place all in buckets or
other suitable containers. This layer of food and castings should contain
nearly the entire herd of worms of your worm bin. Now you can freely harvest the processed castings from the worm farm.
Fill buckets strain the contents through a frame of chicken mash or a similar
wire mesh. Than either use them straight away or store the pure worm castings in
buckets for later use. If you produce a more wormcompost than you can use, you should
consider marketing them as they have great commercial value.