Vermicomposting, worm bin, composting with worms community and forums
Hello I was just wondering if someone could either give me some information or send me a link, was wondering what the difference between black vs brown castings? is one better than the other?
Welcome to the forum, George.
The color of worm castings vary depending on what the worms eat. Certain commercial worm farmers use the nearly black sedge peat as bedding and mix in a powdered worm chow. The worms eat the peat/chow mix and the castings come out black.
I use mostly leaves for bedding and feed my worms kitchen scraps. The vermicompost starts out a brownish color, but over time the VC become darker. If I let the worms work long enough, the resulting VC is pretty much black.
I don't have any links or research to refer you to because I don't think any exist. But I'd be willing to bet worms that the black commercial "castings" that were produced in 2 weeks are not nearly as good as my homegrown "brown" castings produced in 1-2 months.
Here's a photo of fresh castings from different worm species. Guess which one was living in egg carton bedding.
wow, thanks for the good information im assuming the nitrogen levels in what you are feeding is better than the commercial guys castings? my guess on the egg crate is #2,
Don't want to post a name.But i got my wife to try some of the peat castings verses my exotic blend.After using mine she wasn't too impressed with the peat castings.I still plan to do some real testing on it.But i can tell you black castings is not a sure sign of quality.You got to realize peatmoss doesn't in itself have any plant nutrient value.Even just cup holder has more value.I think everyone should try a little small scale experimenting.Same bin will produce all different colors of castings.After harvesting i'll mix it all together.Coffee will make it dark.Horse manure will be a reddish brown.Phonebook depends on if it is the yellow or white pages.Lol!
Real, pure casting has a mushy, muddy consistency when place in water to make tea. Actually, there is very little coarse or grainy residual from casting after worm tea brewing for a couple of days.
The castings from the 14 day (which I may have inadvertently bought a couple of years back) in contrast, feels more gritty and grainy. Black peat that the worm have not processed but blend in color with the worm castings.
I can tell good worm casting from the 14 day casting just by squeezing the casting with my hands and rub it in between your fingers. Good casting should not feel gritty unless you put in alot of egg shells or sands!
I let the banana peels I collected from SB get really mushy and at such a time, they will be black. The worms mostly fed with banana peels produced really dark poop.
As for the bin that got mostly carot pulp produced sort of dark brown (lighter) castings. But as Andrew mentioned, it got darker with time.
Sue you gave me an idea for another experiment.I'll start saving and drying banana peels.Then grind them up before i feed it to the worms in a small container.Probably be the darkest you could make castings.Wonder what the NPK would wind up being?
#4 in the photo is bedding/castings that came from a shipment of EE that were most likely raised in black peat (different from peat moss). As Thuan described, it had a very rough sand texture to it...not anything like castings I ever get from a worm bin.
Note also that castings #1, 2 and 3 mostly have that little tail. They look like they came out of the rear end of a worm, right? Only a couple of the "castings" in #4 look like that. My guess is that most of them never made the trip through a worm's digestive tract. In other words, they are just plain old black peat and NOT worm poo.
Andrew, they could argue, since ""it had a very rough sand texture to it"" the "tips" broke off, LOL.
Larry, once you dry banana peels, they will become tough as leather. The bananas SB uses are not very ripe and if I put them like that in the bin, it will take forever to process. Try a bite on a not so ripe banana peel and you taste that bitter bite. My banana peels have been sitting in buckets (with lid on) at the side of the house (no sun) to "age" for months before the worms get them.
"you taste that bitter bite" IMHO that is also why the worms won't take to veggie oozing white/clear sap like cucumber and lettuce unless they are rotten and slimey.
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