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Hello All,

I recently read a study from Cornell that showed minimal benefit in a garden setting from using castings as fertilizer.  I was very surprised.  Has anyone seen an update on this ?

Thank you

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Cornell has a page touting the benefits at Castings can be a great soil amendment with multiple benefits. Technically I don't think it is a fertilizer but rather it helps the plants uptake nitrogen at the molecular level. There are several of Cornell's studies on this web site and I think the less positive ones were done with entire fields. The studied where temperature was controlled and other amendments were added was where the real increases were found.  

And I can only say what I have seen first hand in our garden ...castings work.

Yes, that was the study I referenced:

 'Our project team found limited benefits associated with direct soil applications of vermicompost. '

I was surprised.


That's true GG. This was published by MSU;

Can you share the link? This is very interesting, especially that the best average numbers seem to come from kitchen prep residue, which is where most household hobby is top in N and K, both of which are of high need in most plants. Of course, kitchen residue varies from kitchen to kitchen and by region and season. This was a winter kitchen test; I wonder how it would be if a summer test?

Isn't science fun!

Thanks for posting!

Yeah, VC shouldn't be thought of as the one and only thing you give your plants.  VC for soil health and therefore plant health.  Fertilizer for nutrition.

Like, the plant needs a good home to live in, and good food to eat.

Try to pick a fertilizer that doesn't undo the benefit your VC provides.  I use fish fertilizer or others as the mood strikes me.

Yeah, it's studies like that where you really need the details.  If they are just looking at growth rates, they can discount other benefits.  As a 'fertilizer', VC isn't that rich.   So if it's compared against a dose of your standard NPK salt maybe that will grow more.  But if repeated year after year NPK dry ferts can create their own problems (not good for the soil).

In a veg garden situation, maximum production isn't really my goal.  Not having to bother with plant care too much (pests, disease etc.) is what I'm looking for.  And considering how much string and poles I had to use to keep my tomato plants upright I'm not really looking for more output heh.

What do you think about using VC as a seed starting medium ?

I started some seeds yesterday in a 50/50 mix of VC and Sphegnum.

I am curious as to how well they do.

Read this article about Peat Moss by the Dirt Doctor

It is very interesting..

That is interesting Liz, thanks.
I guess peat will no longer be part of my components.

For seeds 15-30% VC is good anything more than that is wasted, Larry G. consider adding to your finished vermicast, blood meal, feather meal, cottonseed cake, rock dust (different types) bone meal etc for a better nutrient boost. ....IC




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