Florida Gardening forum: Anyone use worm castings ?

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Miami
Rascal
Feb 22, 2016 12:51 PM CST
Hello
Does anyone use worm castings ?

I ask because read about it and seems interesting . I gather that it is a fertilizer which cant burn plants .

I have used worm tea but this looks better as far as you mix it with the soil and slowly released .

Thanks
Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
The one constant in life is change
Cat Lover Master Gardener: Florida Tropicals Multi-Region Gardener Vegetable Grower Region: Florida
Herbs Orchids Birds Garden Ideas: Level 2 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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dyzzypyxxy
Feb 22, 2016 3:40 PM CST
Yes, we had some bags of worm castings donated for our school garden last fall. I used almost all of them to amend a new bed that we had filled with some decidedly questionable soil, and it helped tremendously. The tomato plants were sort of limping along, until I added the castings, and then they took off and were great.

I'm not sure if you could do completely without fertilizer, using worm castings though. It's hard to know how much, and what nutrients are in them, and how long it will last. I'd put down some pelleted time-release fert as well, (and we did in our tomato bed, too) if you're planting anything that's a heavy feeder.
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
Miami
Rascal
Feb 22, 2016 9:03 PM CST
dyzzypyxxy said:Yes, we had some bags of worm castings donated for our school garden last fall. I used almost all of them to amend a new bed that we had filled with some decidedly questionable soil, and it helped tremendously. The tomato plants were sort of limping along, until I added the castings, and then they took off and were great.

I'm not sure if you could do completely without fertilizer, using worm castings though. It's hard to know how much, and what nutrients are in them, and how long it will last. I'd put down some pelleted time-release fert as well, (and we did in our tomato bed, too) if you're planting anything that's a heavy feeder.


'' It's hard to know how much, and what nutrients are in them, and how long it will last.''

Thank you . That certainly makes sense .

What time released fertilizers do you like ?
Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
The one constant in life is change
Cat Lover Master Gardener: Florida Tropicals Multi-Region Gardener Vegetable Grower Region: Florida
Herbs Orchids Birds Garden Ideas: Level 2 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Image
dyzzypyxxy
Feb 22, 2016 9:15 PM CST
I'm using Dynamite for flowers and vegetables 13 - 13 - 13. The label says it lasts up to 9 months but in Florida with our heat and humidity it's more like 5 or 6 months.
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
Miami
Rascal
Mar 3, 2016 4:44 AM CST
dyzzypyxxy said:I'm using Dynamite for flowers and vegetables 13 - 13 - 13. The label says it lasts up to 9 months but in Florida with our heat and humidity it's more like 5 or 6 months.




Thank you very much I just ordered some .


Name: Lyn
Weaverville, California (Zone 8a)
Garden Ideas: Level 1 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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RoseBlush1
Mar 3, 2016 9:07 AM CST
This is a personal opinion and goes against everything I have read on the net about worm castings.

Please note that I am only addressing worm castings, not worms in the soil.

I don't think worm castings add any benefit to the soil. It is the worms and the organic materials added to the soil to feed the worms that provide the benefit of vermicomposting.

When I started my garden in 2004, my soil was totally dead. It consisted of tightly compressed small rocks with clay and silt between them. I could not dig in the stuff. I used a no-till gardening approach to develop the garden. Since the house pad garden was cut out of a rocky slope and was located about four feet down from what would have been the natural surface of the soil, I was actually gardening in rocky subsoil with no plant organic materials in it. There were no worms and I could not see the strands of white fungi one finds in healthier soils.

However, I did have, and still do have, perfect drainage.

I have come to believe that gardening often consists of compensating for what Nature did not put in the artificial environments we are creating when we develop our gardens.

Over the years of constantly adding new mulch, at least twice a year, which decomposed quite rapidly in the high temps of my summer, the humic acid, which is a by-product of organic material decomposing, has broken down the rocks that were the primary component of my soil. A few years ago, I went to plant some bulbs and found that I could dig in the beds I had been mulching with a trowel. No rocks. I found lots and lots of worms and the missing strands of fungi.

I've compensated for the lack of nitrogen by using chemical fertilizers. I found I could use lower number fertilizers as time went on and the soil became healthier.

At no time did I add worms or worm castings.

When I searched for published research on worm castings, every study I found talked about the addition of worms and materials to feed the worms ... vermicomposting ... as adding great benefit to the soil. None of them addressed only worm castings.

It's possible that worm castings may improve the structure of the soil, but I doubt if they provide any other benefit. This is just from observation in my own garden, so I really don't know if I am correct.

Welcome! @Rascal. I noticed that you joined ATP just a couple of weeks ago.

You may be interested in visiting the Permaculture Forum ( http://garden.org/forums/view/permaculture/ ), or The Soil and Copmpost Forum ( http://garden.org/forums /view/compost/ )

I think you will enjoy ATP.

I'd rather weed than dust ... the weeds stay gone longer.
Miami
Rascal
Mar 7, 2016 6:44 AM CST
RoseBlush1 said:This is a personal opinion and goes against everything I have read on the net about worm castings.

Please note that I am only addressing worm castings, not worms in the soil.

I don't think worm castings add any benefit to the soil. It is the worms and the organic materials added to the soil to feed the worms that provide the benefit of vermicomposting.

When I started my garden in 2004, my soil was totally dead. It consisted of tightly compressed small rocks with clay and silt between them. I could not dig in the stuff. I used a no-till gardening approach to develop the garden. Since the house pad garden was cut out of a rocky slope and was located about four feet down from what would have been the natural surface of the soil, I was actually gardening in rocky subsoil with no plant organic materials in it. There were no worms and I could not see the strands of white fungi one finds in healthier soils.

However, I did have, and still do have, perfect drainage.

I have come to believe that gardening often consists of compensating for what Nature did not put in the artificial environments we are creating when we develop our gardens.

Over the years of constantly adding new mulch, at least twice a year, which decomposed quite rapidly in the high temps of my summer, the humic acid, which is a by-product of organic material decomposing, has broken down the rocks that were the primary component of my soil. A few years ago, I went to plant some bulbs and found that I could dig in the beds I had been mulching with a trowel. No rocks. I found lots and lots of worms and the missing strands of fungi.

I've compensated for the lack of nitrogen by using chemical fertilizers. I found I could use lower number fertilizers as time went on and the soil became healthier.

At no time did I add worms or worm castings.

When I searched for published research on worm castings, every study I found talked about the addition of worms and materials to feed the worms ... vermicomposting ... as adding great benefit to the soil. None of them addressed only worm castings.

It's possible that worm castings may improve the structure of the soil, but I doubt if they provide any other benefit. This is just from observation in my own garden, so I really don't know if I am correct.

Welcome! @Rascal. I noticed that you joined ATP just a couple of weeks ago.

You may be interested in visiting the Permaculture Forum ( http://garden.org/forums/view/permaculture/ ), or The Soil and Copmpost Forum ( http://garden.org/forums /view/compost/ )

I think you will enjoy ATP.



Thank you very much , very informative .

I imagine the worm castings is ''much of nothing'' but no harm done .

I don't know anything about mulch but I have seen 3 types at local garden place . Red cedar , regular wood and a pine type .

I have noticed that some have it around their tree's , flowers and bush's . I assumed that it was to keep weeds away and had planned to try some when I found out more about it .

I am leaning towards the regular wood mulch because I know cedar and pine give off oils and thought it might hurt the bush's .

I will look at the links you posted tonight .

Thanks

Name: Lyn
Weaverville, California (Zone 8a)
Garden Ideas: Level 1 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Image
RoseBlush1
Mar 7, 2016 10:05 AM CST
Rascal ...

My working definition of mulch is any plant organic material you put down to both deter weeds and to maintain moisture in the top of the soil.

I have used shredded leaves, pine needles, straw, partially decayed wood chips and more.

Do take the time to learn about mulch. It's one of the very best ways to improve your soil and to help your garden. As the mulch decomposes, it feeds the soil. Also, keeping the soil moist helps create the environment for worms and other beneficial soil bacteria. It's a win all the way around.

I don't buy mulch because I live in the midst of a forest and can go out and collect my mulch materials.

If you click on the button to the left on the navigation bar ACCESS THE IDEAS POSTING AREA and enter "mulch" in the search field, articles and ideas about mulch submitted by ATP members to the site will come up and provide you with a lot of reading.

Then, if you feel like you have more questions about mulch, just use the ASK A QUESTION forum.
I'd rather weed than dust ... the weeds stay gone longer.
Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
The one constant in life is change
Cat Lover Master Gardener: Florida Tropicals Multi-Region Gardener Vegetable Grower Region: Florida
Herbs Orchids Birds Garden Ideas: Level 2 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Image
dyzzypyxxy
Mar 7, 2016 10:23 AM CST
Rascal, mulch is really great for gardening in Florida. It not only keeps weeds down, it also cools the soil (shade from the sun), helps prevent your soil being washed away from around your plants by the heavy rains in summer, and as it breaks down it slowly adds organic fibers to the sandy soil. Mulch is a huge plus for your garden, all in all.

As to the worm castings, I think the benefit of having worms in the soil besides the aeration they provide is that they actually digest the organic matter in the soil and add the benefit of their waste products to the castings. It does have some nutrients, but as I said originally, you never know how much, or how long the will take to wash away or be used up. The 40lb. bag of castings I added to our tomato bed last fall really seemed to help a lot. At the very least, it was 40lb. of organic material added to a raised bed, so not spread over a large area, probably was more help.
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
Miami
Rascal
Mar 7, 2016 3:24 PM CST
RoseBlush1 said:Rascal ...

My working definition of mulch is any plant organic material you put down to both deter weeds and to maintain moisture in the top of the soil.

I have used shredded leaves, pine needles, straw, partially decayed wood chips and more.

Do take the time to learn about mulch. It's one of the very best ways to improve your soil and to help your garden. As the mulch decomposes, it feeds the soil. Also, keeping the soil moist helps create the environment for worms and other beneficial soil bacteria. It's a win all the way around.

I don't buy mulch because I live in the midst of a forest and can go out and collect my mulch materials.

If you click on the button to the left on the navigation bar ACCESS THE IDEAS POSTING AREA and enter "mulch" in the search field, articles and ideas about mulch submitted by ATP members to the site will come up and provide you with a lot of reading.

Then, if you feel like you have more questions about mulch, just use the ASK A QUESTION forum.


Thank you I am going to look at the links now.

I am going to try mulch and the Cyprus mulch unless others in that link prefer another type.
Miami
Rascal
Mar 7, 2016 3:30 PM CST
dyzzypyxxy said:Rascal, mulch is really great for gardening in Florida. It not only keeps weeds down, it also cools the soil (shade from the sun), helps prevent your soil being washed away from around your plants by the heavy rains in summer, and as it breaks down it slowly adds organic fibers to the sandy soil. Mulch is a huge plus for your garden, all in all.

As to the worm castings, I think the benefit of having worms in the soil besides the aeration they provide is that they actually digest the organic matter in the soil and add the benefit of their waste products to the castings. It does have some nutrients, but as I said originally, you never know how much, or how long the will take to wash away or be used up. The 40lb. bag of castings I added to our tomato bed last fall really seemed to help a lot. At the very least, it was 40lb. of organic material added to a raised bed, so not spread over a large area, probably was more help.


''Rascal, mulch is really great for gardening in Florida''

Lol no wonder I see it everywhere . It never occurred to me that it actually benefited plants as it broke down . I just assumed it just killed weeds .

I'm going to read about it because intend to pick some up this week .

The place I go to has cedar, pine and cyprus which is type I plan to use, as of now .

Thanks

Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
The one constant in life is change
Cat Lover Master Gardener: Florida Tropicals Multi-Region Gardener Vegetable Grower Region: Florida
Herbs Orchids Birds Garden Ideas: Level 2 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Image
dyzzypyxxy
Mar 7, 2016 4:53 PM CST
They are all good, but the best mulch you can get if it's available is called Florimulch. It's made from an invasive tree, melaleuca, so does two good things at once, promotes eradication of a bad tree to make really great mulch. It's so good because it does have an aromatic oil in it, tea tree oil, in fact. It's not harmful to plants, but does discourage insect activity - in fact a couple of UF studies showed it was somewhat repellent to subterranean termites. So it's safe to use near your house as well.
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
Miami
Rascal
Mar 7, 2016 9:46 PM CST
dyzzypyxxy said:They are all good, but the best mulch you can get if it's available is called Florimulch. It's made from an invasive tree, melaleuca, so does two good things at once, promotes eradication of a bad tree to make really great mulch. It's so good because it does have an aromatic oil in it, tea tree oil, in fact. It's not harmful to plants, but does discourage insect activity - in fact a couple of UF studies showed it was somewhat repellent to subterranean termites. So it's safe to use near your house as well.



Thanks ,I just looked it up on their site as will getting mulch by Thu the latest but would have driven a bit to get this.

Closest place is at min over an hour each way so to far to get it .

I notice they also carry sod .

I did email them if they ship grass seeds .

I purchased a bag few months ago over ebay and it took very nicely and going to get more for the front yard .

It looks like a good company .

http://www.gomulch.com/index.cfm/name-home.products/app_cati...


Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
The one constant in life is change
Cat Lover Master Gardener: Florida Tropicals Multi-Region Gardener Vegetable Grower Region: Florida
Herbs Orchids Birds Garden Ideas: Level 2 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Image
dyzzypyxxy
Mar 7, 2016 10:16 PM CST
Several of our local nurseries carry it here, and also one of our Lowe's stores usually has it as well. Might be worthwhile to call around for Florimulch. It really is great stuff.
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
Miami
Rascal
Mar 9, 2016 9:18 PM CST
dyzzypyxxy said:Several of our local nurseries carry it here, and also one of our Lowe's stores usually has it as well. Might be worthwhile to call around for Florimulch. It really is great stuff.



That's a good idea and easy enough . I'll call them tomorrow and if they have it at Lowes or in area I'll head over .


Thanks

I've noticed many of the horticulture type places as far as companies which grow, make things are further north in the state .



Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
The one constant in life is change
Cat Lover Master Gardener: Florida Tropicals Multi-Region Gardener Vegetable Grower Region: Florida
Herbs Orchids Birds Garden Ideas: Level 2 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Image
dyzzypyxxy
Mar 9, 2016 9:27 PM CST
Rascal, I was shopping for something else on Lowe's website and took a look - you can order it online and pick it up at your store, I think:
http://www.lowes.com/pd_293619-83771-293619_1z0wgfm__?produc...

This is a really great price, too because my friendly nursery along the street charges me nearly $3 per bag. Think I'll go get some from Lowe's this week as well!
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
Miami
Rascal
Mar 11, 2016 1:57 AM CST
dyzzypyxxy said:Rascal, I was shopping for something else on Lowe's website and took a look - you can order it online and pick it up at your store, I think:
http://www.lowes.com/pd_293619-83771-293619_1z0wgfm__?produc...

This is a really great price, too because my friendly nursery along the street charges me nearly $3 per bag. Think I'll go get some from Lowe's this week as well!


The Lowes in the next county over carries it . I called the co and they told me , called the Lowes and they have several bags in stock so going today to get some .

Their site doesn't list it as being carried anywhere near me but apparently it is . Good thing I called .

This particular mulch has very high ratings . I thank you for telling me about it .

Either way close enough to go get some and few other things I need like clay pots and lay it out with a shovel on Sat .

My bush's have those red lava rocks around them and I want to replace them with this .

It will be time consuming removing these rocks but I noticed they get as hot as coals in a BBQ come summer . I'll have some Miami type coffee get ''hyped'' and get to work ,lol .

Thank you

[Last edited by Rascal - Mar 11, 2016 2:07 AM (+)]
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Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
The one constant in life is change
Cat Lover Master Gardener: Florida Tropicals Multi-Region Gardener Vegetable Grower Region: Florida
Herbs Orchids Birds Garden Ideas: Level 2 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Image
dyzzypyxxy
Mar 11, 2016 10:40 AM CST
My pleasure, and you're right about the lava rock btw. It's not a good mulch because it heats up, and thus doesn't do the cooling, moisture retention, and natural breakdown that the wood chip mulch does. You'll love working with the Florimulch. It's really great stuff and smells nice too. (I think it does anyway) Spread your mulch fairly thick, because it does settle somewhat, and of course insulates better if it's 2 or 3in. thick as well.
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
Miami
Rascal
Mar 12, 2016 5:51 AM CST
dyzzypyxxy said:My pleasure, and you're right about the lava rock btw. It's not a good mulch because it heats up, and thus doesn't do the cooling, moisture retention, and natural breakdown that the wood chip mulch does. You'll love working with the Florimulch. It's really great stuff and smells nice too. (I think it does anyway) Spread your mulch fairly thick, because it does settle somewhat, and of course insulates better if it's 2 or 3in. thick as well.




Yes about 3 inches is what they recommend but for me 2 is fine , beats rocks .

I picked up 6 bags and it won't be enough but that was all they had , however I found Lowes pretty user-friendly as far as the manager said he would order more because it sells and by next Sat it should be there .

They also had a couple bags colored variety but I didn't want those as didn't want to different looks .

I suspect for now I wont get more than a 1/4 inch coverage but its a start and I'll get more next Sat and finish it up as pouring the mulch and spreading it is the easy part.

Removing all those rocks which will go in the green trash bin is going to be a pain , lol but I'm about to do it .

I'm surprised this melaleuca tree has spread to the point that this company has been able to build a mulch business around it , in other words must be tons of these tree's .

Thanks



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