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Are All Worm Castings Created Equal

Discussion in 'Organic Lawn Care' started by TF PLUS, Oct 7, 2008.

  1. TF PLUS

    TF PLUS LawnSite Member
    Posts: 68

    Trying to understand the difference in natural products and how they work. I realize not all composts are created equal so what about worm castings? I've seen in the "Top Dressing" thread reference to vermicompost and pure worm castings. I purchased Pure Black Castings from a company distributing out of N-Central Florida, the castings are produced in 2 other states, they ship fast and the price for shipping was very fair. I believe there is a difference between them. What about casts created locally, can you mix together or is rotating one application of a type of castings from another, each time you apply a good way to approach this? I 'm looking to set accounts up with 2 to 4 raw worm casting application per year and then teas in between.
    Learning to distinguish, please bear with me.
  2. Hello Tom

    It would be be difficult to say for sure without getting some assay results from the folks who produced the vermicompost (AKA worm castings) as to which is better.

    Better meaning; which is most applicable to your crop (trees, turf, corn...whatever crop you have). The testing should begin there; What organisms are lacking which are beneficial to my crop, which ones are inactive which need foods, which ones are a detriment that need to be out-competed....

    If no testing is available from the producer, than you could have it tested yourself, or buy from a different producer.

    If testing is out of the picture, alternate or mix. Diversity is important. Don't go crazy with the foods or you can go anerobic.

    Innoculating suspect/undocumented compost with documented compost tea is a great idea.

    Once your OM% is above 5-6%, you can back off on the topdressing. Spray more tea and foods, overseed...and test.
  3. cudaclan

    cudaclan LawnSite Member
    from Zone 5
    Posts: 152

    The same “argument” can be stated for hens that are free-rained or farm-raised. Now fish is a controversial subject. I say, yes. You are what you eat.

    DUSTYCEDAR LawnSite Fanatic
    from PA
    Posts: 5,137

    VERMA COMPOST verse pure worm castings? how can u tell the differance once it is bagged up and shipped?
    how do u make sure it is what you wanted to buy?
  5. TF PLUS

    TF PLUS LawnSite Member
    Posts: 68

    Hi Peter,
    There are lots of "organic" fertilizers that are not any better than the synthetics for creating a healthy soil environment I'm finding out. If a product kills soil microbes than it does not matter where it comes from, you don't want to use it in an "organic" program. Trying to think "sustainable horticulture" rather than "non chemical/petroleum based fertilizers was one reason I went with worm casting. For the time being I will have to purchase materials from suppliers but have to sort through them to find what works for St.Augustine lawn and palms. OM reading were at 2, pH 7.75, K, Mg and B low.
  6. treegal1

    treegal1 LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,911

    HA HA HA H A HA , he said over seed, ROFL, when hell frezes over, HA HA HA, what type of seed for south florida next to the dune, say heavily sodic soils. pete that deserves a hug, you made my night that is so funny, you really cheered me up when I was down.thanks....

    tf this is my take on casts and what they are and do, the big thing in casts is the minerals and how they are fixed, the biology you can get out of tea or some other source as pointed out by tom.

    in general a blend of foods and minerals with good diversity is the way to go, wood fed worms seem to make more humates, manure fed worm casts are just a little hollow like sugar is to us. so far the best casts I have seen are feed a mix of manure and veg waste with rice hulls and peanut husks, these were super worms(not mine) but mine are a close second, the biology that you get from up north is going to be a waste of time, they get cold and we have heat, same with compost tea, a norther tea is usually brewed close to 70 or so we can get as high as 100 deg, and my worms have never seen the 70 deg mark, even when the days get short.

    I do think that peter gave you the best advice of all, diversity, its like a Chinese food diner, you don't know whats in the wok, just that there is a lot of different things, al colors shapes and sizes, all swimming in a undetermined sauce. you can even go out east of you and find some Bahia grass that is native and pull some up to take to the worm bed or compost pile, maybe find that old cypress tree that fell over 300 years ago and looks like a pile of ferns, grab some of that and take back to the pile, go east on 41 and get a hand full of mud to add to the pile, or over by tin city there is this salt water muck that sits near the shore, that stuff is just live enough that it may walk to your compost pile, Cain bagasse piles, old manure pit,,,, maybe even trade compost with others...........
  7. treegal1

    treegal1 LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,911

    Tom we use a lot of bone char and sulfur in the summer, fall its metals and Epsom salt, with some super B boost,
  8. TF PLUS

    TF PLUS LawnSite Member
    Posts: 68

    DustyCedar, this was the first time I ordered worm castings, its a start. I have an open-mind to see how it goes.

    TG, I did wonder about different climates and there effects on castings produced. Even wondered if indoor climate control equals out North verses Southern produced castings. I had an understanding about type of diet.
    I will need to purchase more castings before I can produce them. If you are a close second who is super worm castings producer? Sometimes being a close second works out better than first,JMO. I thought I was the best fertilizer guy on Marco but...maybe someday soon.
  9. treegal1

    treegal1 LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,911

    wood ash.............big K ..................
  10. treegal1

    treegal1 LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,911

    shoot me a pm and I can give you the guys # in GA or send some of mine, postage is a joke from here to there, so if you would like to try some or visit the farm , just let me know.............show you some African and South American worms that would make these gringos faint if they seen em, like a snake!

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