How to Use Worm Castings

How to Use Worm CastingsUsing worm castings is an exceptional way to improve soil quality for gardening. Castings can lead to better color and a greater quantity of fruit and flowering plants that attract birds. They are a gentle method of fertilizing that will not cause burn on plants. Castings also add beneficial organisms to the soil around your plants and may inhibit certain insect pests and curtail potentially damaging organisms in the soil.


Difficulty: Moderately Easy

Universal Fertilizer

How to:

Things You’ll Need:
  • Worm castings
  • 5-gallon bucket
Step 1
Use castings as a top dressing for soil by spreading them over an area before you till. They can be worked deep into the soil to provide a timed release of nutrients. Pair this treatment with a planting of hummingbird mix (a seed selection specifically designed to attract hummingbirds) to take best advantage of the improved soil.
Step 2
Broadcast castings over the top layer of soil after planting. The castings act as a fertilizer, breaking down to release minerals and growth-enhancing compounds. Castings can be watered in or left until a soaking rain helps break them down. This is an effective way to improve the growth of native plants, increase their production of flowers and seed heads and attract more local birds to your garden.
Step 3
Create a manure tea by soaking the castings in a 5-gallon bucket of water. Add 1 lb. of castings to 4 gallons of water and stir. Allow the mixture to sit for a day and stir before use (the tea may be diluted more as needed). This method works well for heavy feeders and plants that require ongoing applications of fertilizer and deep watering. Use the tea to help larger trees reach their maximum height or newly planted, smaller trees to establish themselves. The trees provide nesting sites and cover for bird species.
Step 4
Spread castings around the base of orchard trees to encourage a more bountiful crop of fruit, nuts and flowers. Trees supply materials for a wide range of birds' needs--everything from shelter to a roosting place to winter forage.
Step 5
Castings may be used to build up or amend poor soils, enabling you to use areas where plants may have failed to grow in the past. The neutral pH can help adjust acid levels. The bulk of the castings can break up clay and encourage greater aeration. Plant a variety of shrubs in your yard and garden to attract birds in all seasons. Shrubs are often hardy and are relatively low maintenance. They add beauty, visual interest and provide a source of food and nesting material for visiting birds. Several varieties are able to cope with average to poor soils that other plants cannot tolerate.

Article Written By Alice Moon

Alice Moon is a freelance writer with more than 10 years of experience. She was chosen as a Smithsonian Institute intern, working for the National Zoo in Washington, D.C., and has traveled throughout Asia. Moon holds a Bachelor of Science in political science from Ball State University.

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