A FEW CLARIFICATIONS ON VERMICOMPOST TERMS:
Vermi (worms in Latin ) + compost ( a mix of decaying organic matter which in turn provides nutrients to plants) = Nature’s BEST Plant Food.
Vermicast is a fancy name for worm poops – highly compacted and bursting with humus, nitrogen, enzymes, microbes and bacteria, consider them minor power houses of natural, organic goodness.
Vermicast is sieved from rougher vermicompost, as a very easy-to-use granular soil amendment, and can be applied as follows:
Potting Medium – Mix 1:3 with potting soil/vermilculite/river sand
Lawn dressing – Sprinkle on and WATER DOWN immediately in pm
Pot Plants – sprinkle on top and water down. GREAT for “tired” pot plants
Flowering Shrubs, Roses and Blooms – boost yeild, colour and fragrance by boosting your plant AS buds start forming, OR in autumn.
Seedlings and Cuttings – Using vermicompost ensures well over 95% success in germiation of seeds, including many “difficult to grow” plant species. Mix as with potting soil (1:3), OR can place cuttings in 1:1 mix of vermiliquid/water OR 1:1 mix of vermicompost/water.
General Soil Tonic -Add 1:5 in other composting/soil mediums.
Vermicomposting: How To Make Worm Castings
Vermicomposting is very similar to composting, but vermicomposting uses worms to help speed up the composting process, resulting in a final product of a soil amendment which is literally loaded with nutrients for plants.
Vermicompost bursting with colloidal humus!
Have a look at this ball of vermicompost…note how “sticky and pliable” it is? Well, humus is essential in HOLDING WATER and for the slow release of vital minerals and nutrient plants need. Compost worms, as tillers of TOP soil, actually build THE most crucial food basket for mankind. Poor soils = poor health, plain and simple!
One only needs a small amount of vermicompost per plant, and if soils are particularly bad, easy to apply and make “plant and root” specific. (see below)…
Soil gets renewed by “re-processing” green organic waste back into food!
While there are thousands of annalids (worms), there are ONLY 5 or so true composting worms, ie, they eat 95% or more decaying organic matter. The most common of these is the Eisenia Fetida (also known as the Red Wriggler / Kariba / Branding / or Tiger) worm. These little worms are truly the world’s best composters!
The vermicompost is immensely concentrated, and has an extremely high humus concentration. Humus acts like a “water nappy gel”, which absorbs water for long periods, and stayes in soil for up to 20 years! The most important thing to remember when applying worm tea is this – apply as soon as possible (best within 48 hours) OR keep bottle OPEN and in dark cupboard. You can also add a 1/2 t of honey or nolasses as “food” for your bacteria and micro-organism. The beneficial aerobic microorganisms require oxygen to survive .
Some examples using vermicompost:)
Vermicompost a Living Soil Amendment
Short educational video on vermicomposting from Cornell University.
Wonders of Vermicompost!
Being a horticulturalist by profession, I delight in experimenting with the wonderful properties of vermitea and vermicompost, and noting the effects on seedlings and cuttings as we go, so enjoy!
OK, now onto something else… this cutting of Rosemary demonstrates the immense force and potency contained in Vermitea/Vermicompost, as compost worms transform decaying ingested material, into a STABLE food source for plants. The plant absorbs as needed, and BOTH vermitea and vermicompost is noted for it’s amazing success rates in germination and cuttings, often having success in very difficult to propagate plants too!
The Rosemary rooted after 8 days – Viva Vermiculture!
These Trinidad Scorpion Chillies are NOTORIOUSLY difficult to grow from seed, but using vermicompost and vernitea, was very successful – voila!
How strange to think that SUCH small, humble composting worms can make SUCH a difference to your garden, the health of plants, scenting flowers more potently, and ensuring bigger yeild in food crops. Small wonder that the world is turning to worms on a large scale – realising that we EACH can give back to Mother Nature.
Why Vermicompost just makes sense:
· Recycle organic matter BACK into your garden, not the refuse dump!
· Keep it natural, organic, safe and eco-friendly… Mother Nature knows best.
· Save money by using an economical alternative for maximum yeild.
· Inoculate soils with beneficial microbes. NEVER used “steamed” composts”, as ALL the microbes and good bacteria has been killed off. Soil rich with micro-life is food rich with abundance, nutrients and good health for YOU!
· Improve plant taste and freshness! As vermicompost is a pure plant food, better photosynthesis and aromatic qualities ensue.
For every 10 dm3 you feed your worms, your return will be +- 2dm3 of pure “Black Gold” vermicompost. This is highly concentrated goodness, and you only need small amounts to equal and surpass other composts.
NB! Can your compost do this? Once you use vermicompost, you will NEVER go back to buying inferior compost. Better still, make your own, or buy from Eco Worm Farms, as we make POTENT vermicompost
(…also known as Vermitea or Vermiliquid)
Worm tea, (or vermitea) is valuable when applied to the leaves of plants because it prevents the infestation of plant diseases like powdery mildew and black spot while providing nutrients to the plants.
Check out this robust and healthy plant growth of beans after just 2 weeks from one of our Eco Worm Farm clients:)
Worm tea is inexpensive, organic and safe to use on all plants, and is especially good for growing vegetables and herbs. It also prevents plant infestations with harmful micro-organisms, to name but a few benefits.
TRY YOUR OWN VERMILIQUID AND VERMICOMPOST EPXERIMENTS AT HOME AND BE AMAZED – see YOURSELF!
Worm tea can be applied in two ways, directly into soil or as a foliar spray.
Benefits of worm tea:
Simple, Affordable, Green and GOOD!
*Pathogens cannot infect the plants because the potential infection sites are already dominated and occupied by beneficial microbes.
*Plants are more active, taking up nutrients from the tea making it less susceptible to attack by pathogens, as bacteria/fungi or mild proliferate when a plant is out of balance.
*Nutrients and food in the tea encourages good microorganisms to grow, with the nutirents being retained better, allowing for nutrient absorption on an “as needed” basis by the plant.
*Soil structure is improved, with more oxygen reaching into the roots and preventing toxin build up in soil by anaerobes.
*Vermitea or vermiliquid is abosorbed via the roots, and overall water retention is better, which is great in our water stressed country. The depth of root a grow is increased, encouraging stronger plant growth, with robust leaves and yeild.
*By using an organic alternative, your plants are truly healthy, which means that you will be too! Consumers are demanding a shift away from the many dangerous and harmful chemicals that get used in commercial vegetable farming.
*You will now have control over what you eat, and as so many diseases are dietary related, this is a no-brainer! NB! Organic matter will contribute to the growth of the tea microbes when applied to the soil.
If there is not enough organic matter, adding some more will help prolong the benefits of the worm tea application. This if your soil is very poor, best to add vermicompost as well, particularly on planting new stock. You will need +-1/2 cup per small bush, 1 cup per shrub, and 2-4 cups per tree (per season!).
How to Apply Eco Worm Farms’ Worm Tea:
Worm Tea is sold as a concentrate, and needs to be diluted 1:3o with either rain water, OR tap water that has been left to stand for 24 hours. This is to ensure that the delicate micro-organisms do NOT get killed off!
You can also add in garlic/marigold mixed with 1/4 dish washing liquid as an ORGANIC and NATURAL pesticide. Steep 2 or 3 cloves of garlic and 3 marigold flower heads in warm water for one hour. Drain off the liquid and add to your worm tea.
Another option is to add in comfrey with the worm tea, for ailing,old and diseased plants, as comfrey is considered nature’s plant healer. Steep as above, and feed the compost worms the comgrey leaves once you have steeped your leaves… worms LOVE comfrey!
It is best to apply the vermitea late afternoon, as plants aspirate and will absorb more. Ditto for worm tea as a leachate/vermiliquid for soil. You ideally want the liquid to drain down as far and well as possible.
TIP: When planting out, add one or two handful of shredded newspaper close to the roots, as a “slow release” sponge ball, especially for very sandy areas along our coast.
NB! Take photos before and after applying worm tea. We know you will be more than impressed, and your plants will love you for it!