I was surprised to see good moisture retention, drainage and pore spacing with just 100% worm castings. I did not observe any soil compaction over time. Additionally, the naturally organic nutrients in the castings were bio-available and yet not overly water soluble. When I permitted the containers to sit in a tray of water, there was no visible sign of nutrient leeching -no fertilizer run-off.
Not all vermi-compost is made the same. The feed-stock is a big factor. Also the growing environment comes into play. My worms are grown outdoors, uncovered and connected to the ground. The juicy worm excretions freely drain into the dirt. My worms are vegan, eating cardboard, leaves, coffee grinds and seedless plant matter. If I were to feed them manures, I may find an increase in salt levels and a very different NPK. So keep that in mind!
I hoped to extend the volume of my castings by including shredded wood, leaves, bean pod husks and pine needles. But in each instance I discovered a reduction in plant growth caused by the inclusion of these components. I believe that the biggest factor was nitrogen draft. The various plant materials had a high carbon to nitrogen ratio. They were fresh and had not been composted yet. As a result, they began to break down (tying up nitrogen in the process).
Stay tuned as I will next be testing finely sifted compost as a nutrient source. I’ll also try a mixture of compost and worms castings. We’ll see how these can perform when compared to an OLD bag of MG Seed Starting Mix. 😛
PART ONE – Intro:
I grew “Toy Choy” bok choy from seed.
Botanical Interests sells this variety: http://shrsl.com/?~b2qa
#InDoorGardening #SustainableGardening #WormPoop
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