Pacific Coast Gardening forum: Worm casting tea vs worm castings

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Southern California, Anaheim a
f0xyrox1e
Sep 22, 2017 10:04 AM CST
I have started using worm castings from a very reputable company. I use the worm castings in my raised bed garden and mix the castings into the dirt prior to planting. The results have been good. I recently started investigating using the worm castings to make a tea. Is there any advantage to using the tea versus a top dressing of worm castings?
Name: Sherry
Northern California
Sunset Zone 17
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Region: Pacific Northwest Seed Starter Region: California Plant Identifier
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wcgypsy
Sep 25, 2017 12:45 PM CST
Hmmmmm...I don't know...I'd only used worm castings alone and that was when I was in SoCal and had such a bad infestation of the whiteflies...Worm castings are pretty expensive and I used it only in half barrel plants such as the Blue Dawn morning glory that I had running over an arbor...it was recommended to use a surface layer an inch thick, also used it on my Rose of Sharon. I think that I might be tempted to start adding worms themselves to my raised beds....not an issue where I am now as we have lots of worms...
I could be wrong...
and.....
"maybe I should have kept my mouth shut....."
The Urge for Seeds is Strong in This One.....
Name: Danita
GA (Zone 7b)
Charter ATP Member Forum moderator Hummingbirder Salvias Butterflies Birds
Plant Identifier Vegetable Grower Container Gardener Seed Starter Cat Lover Region: Georgia
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Danita
Sep 25, 2017 12:54 PM CST
Sherry, did the worm castings seem to help with the whitefly issue?
Name: Sherry
Northern California
Sunset Zone 17
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Region: Pacific Northwest Seed Starter Region: California Plant Identifier
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wcgypsy
Sep 25, 2017 1:32 PM CST
Hi, Danita ! Yes, they did, though others have reported differently.....it certainly worked better than what was suggested when the whiteflies first became an issue....which was to stand there with a vacuum cleaner and get the flies stirred up...and suck them up....lol..it did not go well, ask me how I know.....
I could be wrong...
and.....
"maybe I should have kept my mouth shut....."
The Urge for Seeds is Strong in This One.....
Name: Danita
GA (Zone 7b)
Charter ATP Member Forum moderator Hummingbirder Salvias Butterflies Birds
Plant Identifier Vegetable Grower Container Gardener Seed Starter Cat Lover Region: Georgia
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Danita
Sep 25, 2017 2:24 PM CST
Rolling on the floor laughing Rolling on the floor laughing Rolling on the floor laughing
Well, as much as I hate vacuuming the house, I really don't want to have to start vacuuming the yard, too! Hilarious!
I have a couple of plants that suddenly got whitefly and I hate using insecticides.
I already have some worm castings so I'll give them a try, then.

Thanks, Sherry! Green Grin!
Name: Sue
SF Bay Area, CA (Zone 9b)
Container Gardener Canning and food preservation Dog Lover
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Zuni
Dec 16, 2017 9:13 PM CST
I grew worms in containers for a short while and learned a lot about them. First and foremost, I learned it's nearly impossible to separate worms from their casings LOL. But, that's a long story.

If you added them to a raised bed that was on top of the ground - so when they ran out of stuff to eat in your bed, they could wander somewhere else - that would be great.

Worms are incredibly voracious. They can eat an enormous amount of food. Which, of course, they turn into compost for you. But, once they run out of food, they will go somewhere else.

If I had raised beds and was going to add worms to it, I'd mulch it heavily with leaves or shredded newspapers. You could even turn the newspaper into the soil. They'll eat it and turn it into castings for you.

They need to consume something, like birds do, to clear their gullet - I'm probably using the wrong term right now, as I'm tired and it's been a while. But, what you can do, is just add some powdered calcium to the soil for them, or you can dry and grind up egg shells, which is what I did. At the time, I was eating a lot of eggs, and I'd just put the shells into a paper bag and let them dry out, then put them into the blender and turn them into powder. If you add this to your beds, too, they'll also have something else they need.

They're fascinating creatures. But, I can tell you firsthand, that raising them for their castings is a lot harder to do than you might think. You will end up with their cocoons and baby worms in with your castings. And, I can also tell you from experience, you don't want a bunch of worms hatching in your indoor plant containers LOL. They will escape and end up in weird places. Hilarious!

As far as tea - I think that would be mostly a convenience thing. If your pots are full of soil and you don't have room for adding castings, then tea would be the way to go. Also, if you're not sure if there are any cocoons or baby worms in it, and it's going into a container where you don't want baby worms escaping, then tea is the way to go.

Honestly, I'm not so sold on the benefits of worm castings overall compared to other sources of fertilizer. I don't think they're cost-effective and/or worth the extra money. I do think adding worms to your compost pile is a surefire way to get it to compost much more quickly, though, and you can sell the worms to fishermen, depending on the type of worm.
[Last edited by Zuni - Dec 16, 2017 9:19 PM (+)]
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Name: Sherry
Northern California
Sunset Zone 17
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Region: Pacific Northwest Seed Starter Region: California Plant Identifier
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wcgypsy
Dec 16, 2017 9:40 PM CST
Fortunately, here we have lots of worms, happy to do their thing all on their own, so I don't have to raise them, which, you've convinced, me is something I don't want to do. The only time that I, myself, have used castings was to get rid of the Giant Whiteflies...only in a couple of spots..
I could be wrong...
and.....
"maybe I should have kept my mouth shut....."
The Urge for Seeds is Strong in This One.....
Name: Carol
Santa Ana, ca
Sunset zone 22, USDA zone 10 A.
Charter ATP Member Hummingbirder Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Orchids Region: California Plant Identifier
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ctcarol
Dec 16, 2017 10:03 PM CST
LOL! Me too, Sherry! I think the Giant White Fly decided this area wasn't so hospitable after all. I haven't seen any white fly this past year. Got thrips and spider mites instead.

Forgot to say welcome, Sue!
[Last edited by ctcarol - Dec 16, 2017 10:04 PM (+)]
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Name: Gardener Bob
Wedgefield, SC (Zone 8a)
Vermiculture Vegetable Grower Region: South Carolina Greenhouse Garden Photography
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GardenerBob
Dec 16, 2017 10:03 PM CST
I have begun raising worms for their castings after reading about how beneficial their castings are for gardening. I have 13 elevated beds i'm building this spring so I am going to need a bunch. They do eat a lot but so far our home waste has been enough to keep them fed. I puree all our organic scraps in the blender and feed them that. It disappears in about 3-4 days I also do the ground egg shells and coffee grounds that they enjoy also. Will be collecting my first castings on the 22nd.
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Name: Sherry
Northern California
Sunset Zone 17
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Region: Pacific Northwest Seed Starter Region: California Plant Identifier
Image
wcgypsy
Dec 16, 2017 10:20 PM CST
I'm lazy now and simply dig my kitchen scraps into the garden beds..as mentioned, we do already have a lot of worms and alot of rain to help decompose the scraps.....
I could be wrong...
and.....
"maybe I should have kept my mouth shut....."
The Urge for Seeds is Strong in This One.....
Name: Sue
SF Bay Area, CA (Zone 9b)
Container Gardener Canning and food preservation Dog Lover
Image
Zuni
Dec 17, 2017 11:55 PM CST
ctcarol said:LOL! Me too, Sherry! I think the Giant White Fly decided this area wasn't so hospitable after all. I haven't seen any white fly this past year. Got thrips and spider mites instead.

Forgot to say welcome, Sue!


Thank you!
Name: Sue
SF Bay Area, CA (Zone 9b)
Container Gardener Canning and food preservation Dog Lover
Image
Zuni
Dec 18, 2017 12:03 AM CST
GardenerBob said:I have begun raising worms for their castings after reading about how beneficial their castings are for gardening. I have 13 elevated beds i'm building this spring so I am going to need a bunch. They do eat a lot but so far our home waste has been enough to keep them fed. I puree all our organic scraps in the blender and feed them that. It disappears in about 3-4 days I also do the ground egg shells and coffee grounds that they enjoy also. Will be collecting my first castings on the 22nd.
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Nice beds. I really enjoyed my worms. I actually had some in a few bins inside my tiny studio apartment LOL. I had a big bin on a furniture dolly under my kitchen table, and a couple in the dark under the bathroom sink.

I had a shredder in the bathroom on a little table, and I'd feed the shredded paper to the worms, along with coffee grounds and such. I did end up with some bugs, but they got under control when I simply changed back to just shredded paper for a while.

But, then I tried sifting the bins to separate the worms and cocoons from the castings and major fail! At least as far as using the soil inside. If you were just going to use the soil outside and didn't care if any worms hatched, then that's great.

I read some studies that were done by the Indian government on what types of waste worms prefer. They were studying to see if they could use worms to help compost garbage. It was a fascinating study. They put different types of waste on the outside of a large circle, and put worms into the middle of the circle, then waited to see where the worms went, to see what they preferred to eat. Very cool.

They preferred certain types of manure to other types, as I recall. Can't remember the details. But, you could probably google India government study on waste management with composting worms - or something like that - and find it.

Enjoy your worms. They are amazing little critters and extremely efficient at composting.

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