Why We Fertilize Our Planted Wall Vertical Garden with Worm Castings
As you likely know, Planted Places is the maker of the Planted Wall vertical gardening system. You may not know that it comes bundled with the Planted Membership subscription, where you receive healthy seedlings, living soil, organic fertilizers and more. We pair the Planted Wall with the membership subscription because it helps our customers grow successful edible gardens.
If you are a Planted Member, you will receive worm castings in your subscription box because they are super-beneficial for plants. Actually, if you have worms in your garden, that’s a telltale sign of healthy soil.
What Are Worm Castings?
Worm castings are also known as “vermicompost.” They’re a byproduct of a worm’s digestive process, aka worm poop, worm manure—you get the picture.
How Do Worm Castings Benefit Plants?
At Planted Places we’ve seen first-hand increased plant growth rates and decreased pests and diseases. So, how does vermicompost work?
Agricultural scientists and soil scientists have actively been investigating this. While there’s still a lot more for us to learn, they have already found some amazing results! Here are ways worm castings benefit our plants:
Protection From Certain Diseases
Many people report much lower levels of diseases in their plants after using worm castings. While there is so much more to learn, scientists identified at least one plant disease that can be reduced by using vermicompost. A Cornell study demonstrated that vermicomposted soil helped to protect seedlings from Pythium aphanidermatum, which is also known as the dreaded “damping off” disease which can devastate young seedlings.
Faster Growth and Healthier Seedlings
In greenhouse trials, adding 10% vermicompost to a seed starting soil base mix showed a significant increase in the growth rate of seedlings. This growth was believed to be due to the higher amount of soluble nitrogen that vermicompost offers compared to traditional composts. Starting with healthy seedlings is a vital part of developing mature plants that will be less susceptible to diseases and pests—thereby strengthening your entire garden! Plus, healthy, nutrient-dense plants will provide better nutrients when they are consumed!
Creation of Healthy, Living Soil Full of Beneficial Microorganisms
In another study, scientists found an increase in communities of beneficial soil microorganisms in fields where certain seedlings had been sown. So, what was it about these seedlings that gave the soil microorganisms a boost? You guessed it: vermicompost! The seedlings in this study were started with vermicompost mixed into the soil. And, the scientists found that the test fields with the vermicompost were the only ones that still had significant levels of microorganism communities at the time of harvest! This study helps demonstrate how efficient vermicompost is in creating healthy living soil.
You can learn more about why we grow in soil in this post by our founder. Also, check out the Planted Wall vertical gardening system.