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I'm conducting a test to demonstrate the advantage of worm castings compared to regular garden soil and commonly available commercial compost.

 

 

 


For the test, I've planted organic Little Gem Lettuce seeds in worm castings (bottom), garden soil (middle), and commercial organic compost purchased at the local hardware store (top).

 

 

  • The worm castings are fresh harvested from my home worm bin.
  • The garden soil is straight from my raised bed garden. The garden soil has been in my garden since last season. It's mixed with equal parts of coconut coir mulch block, commercial organic compost, and about 1/4 part perilite.
  • The commercial compost is labeled organic compost from my local Ace Hardware.

I'll take pictures of the progress every day and post them here to aid in the comparison.

 


I've also planted some organic Cherry Belle Radish seeds in my garden, which should also offer an alternative comparison.

Views: 662

Comment by Steven on November 14, 2010 at 8:51pm
Excellent. I look forward to updates.
Comment by Eve on November 15, 2010 at 7:54am
bpearcy i have found that plants don't do well in 100% castings. Worse than they do with no fertile soil at all. They seem to sprout fine but grow a little stunted.
I only add about 20% casting to bagged potting mix to make starter mix. I get great plant starts that way.
Comment by Paulo on November 15, 2010 at 8:36am
How did you plan to keep moisture levels balanced? those levels need to be the same form start to finish if you want to have reliable results, the same goes to temperature levels.
Comment by bpearcy10 on November 15, 2010 at 9:37am
Paulo,

I doubt I can keep the moisture perfect. I planned to water all approximately equal from a water can, but there is no way it will be exact.

Eve,

I've read that a mix is better. We usually just top dress our garden seedlings after replanting, but we've had good experience with worm castings for flowering plants. Here's a picture of a violet my wife purchased and repotted in worm castings. The plant was marked down from $8 to a $1 and was on it's last legs. For all purposes, it was the next thing to dead. It has flourished in the worm castings.

Comment by Eve on November 15, 2010 at 10:20am
Glad to hear they are doing so well for you. You must have the perfect blend of food and bedding.

I am starting to think that it matters a great deal what the castings were made of. I wish there was a was to figure out how well plants would do with different kinds of casting makeups. I am thinking that with castings each "grower" has to figure it out for themselves. Just like taking care of the worm bin.
Comment by bpearcy10 on November 15, 2010 at 11:09am
Eve,

I stand partially corrected. My wife reminded me that the violet is in a 50/50 mix of potting soil and worm castings.
Comment by Paula Allen on November 15, 2010 at 5:27pm
Keep Us Posted. I love test like these.
Comment by Steven on November 15, 2010 at 6:00pm
maybe you could add a forth test - soil amended with VC. As for water, you could use a measuring cup to make sure they all get the same amount of water.
Comment by bpearcy10 on November 17, 2010 at 5:30pm
Update - It's still too small to photograph, but the first radish seedling is beginning to peer it's head out of the soil. It's not the worm castings sample either - it's the garden soil sample.
Comment by bpearcy10 on November 18, 2010 at 5:59pm
Update - They are still too small to photograph, but the lettuce and radish seedlings are popping up everywhere at this point.

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