Worm castings as growing medium?

Discussion in 'Organic Growing' started by Mr. Clandestine, Feb 7, 2008.

  1. Mr. Clandestine

    Mr. Clandestine Registered+

    I have the opportunity to get my hands on a sizable amount of weed-free worm castings, well over 100lbs if I desire, and I was curious if anyone has ever used a casting/perlite-only mix to grow their plants?

    I always have some castings on hand to add to my soil mix, but I've never tried substituting it alone for all other organic matter. Would this be too "hot" even for plants well into veg? If anyone has ever done this, please let me know how it worked out for you. Include, if possible, any potential problems with pH, what fertilizers (if any) you used, whether it made any noticeable differences in your final weight, etc. Anything you can tell me about it will influence whether or not I'm willing to give it a shot.

    If it makes any difference, the strain I'm growing right now is a Sativa-dominant AK-47. And so far, it seems to be pretty tolerant of high Nitrogen fertilizers.
     
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  2. xcrispi

    xcrispi Registered+

    They're not really that hot . 1-0-0 , all N .

    Prob. = Worm diareha once wet though but can't hurt to experiment . All else fails it sells for 1.00 a lb. here locally . Some lazy dumbass would buy it on ebay and you could buy 5 bags of Happy Frog or Ocean Forest w/ the $$$ .
    Crispi :jointsmile:
     
  3. Mr. Clandestine

    Mr. Clandestine Registered+

    Thanks for the feedback XC. I didn't think it would be too hot, but figured I'd ask anyway. I've found a deal on as much as I could ever want for $.50 per pound, so I'm considering getting a good bit of it anyway... but it looks like I'll probably just keep using it as an amendment for my soil. I might just experiment with one plant so I can get a good idea about how well it works.

    Thanks again.
     
  4. Rusty Trichome

    Rusty Trichome Registered+

    About 3 years ago, I tried worm castings with perlite for seedlings and clones once. Made a muddy mess, and nothing grew.
    By the looks of it after the attempt, the castings clogged up the perlite, and so it got no areation.
    Still use it for my soil mix, but after buying 15 lbs I still have most of it left.
     
  5. stinkyattic

    stinkyattic CultiModerVatorAtor

    I had a similar experience. I found it retained a lot more water than I really wanted. I'd go for a 'worm tea' product made from castings but in liquid form that you can add to your regular ferts.
     
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  6. Mr. Clandestine

    Mr. Clandestine Registered+

    Thanks Rusty & Stinky for sharing your experiences with me. I'll just keep adding the castings to my soil mix, and see what I can do about finding some in liquid form. I remember seeing some liquid castings at a store somewhere, it was packaged in a 2-liter soda bottle, and I'm kicking myself in the ass for not getting it when I saw it. Now I have no earthly clue where to find it again w/out having to order online.

    Thanks again for your responses XCrispi, Rusty, & Stinky! You've all been a great help.
     
  7. xcrispi

    xcrispi Registered+

    Hey Clandestine
    Make the tea yourself using the castings you already have .
    I'm sure Stinky will give you her recipe . I have used it mostly as a soil amendment , but have tried to help N def. using it mixed w/ my reg. waterings but don't remember in what ratios .
    Peace
    Crispi :jointsmile:
     
  8. stinkyattic

    stinkyattic CultiModerVatorAtor

    I can't say as I've ever made worm tea myself but it involves a 5 gallon pail, some worm castings, an airstone and pump, and a 'teabag' made of a few layers of old stocking. Maybe Tex will have insight; I think he's been doing teas lately.
    There are actually pre-fab worm tea products you can buy at the grow shop.
     
  9. Mr. Clandestine

    Mr. Clandestine Registered+

    I have plenty of buckets, and actually have a few extra airstones/pumps from old aquarium setups I used to have. I've been playing around with making guano teas for a while, but recently found out that I've been doing it wrong. I used warm water with some homemade "teabags", only I didn't know that 90-100[FONT=Arial,Helvetica,Geneva,Swiss,SunSans-Regular]°F was too hot, and so I've probably been losing effectiveness of the tea. I'm an idiot, I figured they needed to steep... like Lipton's!

    Anyway, when I start using guano again, I'll be making the tea by bubbling the hell out of it for 24 hours in room temperature water. I'll see if I can get some feedback from Texas about trying this with castings. I'd love to use less fishy smelling emulsion, and more earthy smelling castings during veg. I don't have a problem with the smell of castings, but I've yet to find a truly "deodorized" fish crap...

    Thanks again for everyones insight! :thumbsup:
    [/FONT]
     
  10. melodious fellow

    melodious fellow Registered+

    I read in a grow guide once that worm castings were the ultimate soil supplement and that they were so rich, one could grown in pure worm castings. It also said that they were so expensive though that this would be way impractical.

    But after reading Stinky and Rusty's experiences, fuck that
     
  11. mushaboom

    mushaboom Registered+

    hey i read that same thing somewhere... i think it was that green book the bible maybe. the information hasnt really ever been too helpful for me in that thing i just like to look at the pictures
     
  12. texas grass

    texas grass Registered+

    in my experiences in making teas compost and wormcastings are about the best things to use as your main base. both are full of biologicals and with aeration and the right amount of organic material and food they will flourish
    good food and organic material to use is seaweed, mollasses, humates, meals, guanos. you only need about 1-2tablespoons total of food to help feed the biologicals

    the teas can be used as a soil feeder, foliar feeder, and some insect/disease control
    usually need to brew for about 24-48 hrs
    if your brews sit for too long or conditions arnt right the tea could provide a home for pathologenic biologicals.


    if you can get ahold of the vermicompost liquid, that stuff is liquid gold
     
  13. Mr. Clandestine

    Mr. Clandestine Registered+

    Wow, I forgot all about this thread!

    And yeah, I've found some of that stuff, but I've yet to find a very good deal on it. At my local stores, where it's available, it was going for something like $10 for 2 liters... AND it was already pre-diluted, making it tough to spread out over a longer period of time. That's a little expensive for my tastes, even though I know it's good to have on hand.

    I never did purchase the bags of castings that I was thinking about trying as a medium. It's still something that I'd like to try in the future, but from what I've gathered from the great people of Cann.com, it will take some patience and experimentation to get it right. Thanks for the background info on teas, though. I'm certainly well on my way to finding just the right compromise between biological additives and organic teas to make my plants healthy and happy. I've made plenty of mistakes down the road, but I'm getting much more comfortable with the whole process.

    And thanks again to everyone who responded! :thumbsup:
     
  14. moorebait

    moorebait Registered

    Worm Castings Organic Fertilizer plant LAWN GARDENfood

    You Cannot burn plants with WORM CASTINGS OR WORM TEA

    Worm Castings Natures Organic Fertilizer

    Worm Castings Natures Pure Organic Fertilizer

    Safe for our Environment!!
    Our product is an all purpose, natural fertilizer that comes from nature - with no alterations whatever.

    ( 1.) Naturally organic and odor free!
    ( 2.) Will not burn plants - at any concentration! (even the most delicate seed or plant is safe
    (4.) Castings also increase the soil's water retention as they contain absorbent organic matter that holds water by the plant's roots.
    (5.) Castings contain growth hormones for bigger and more fibrous roots.
    (6.) Longer lasting nutrition for plants because of the capsule-like structure of the castings
    (7.) Provides a slow release, continuous fertilization. The fact is our Soil Builder is from earthworm castings,our castings are created by Mother Nature herself,
    (8.) promoting optimum plant growth as nature intended! Results are so spectacular that we feel confident in offering a 100% money back guarantee

    HERE SOME INFO ON

    What is LEC (liquid earthworm castings)? It is an organic soil amendment made from 100% earthworm castings without additives. It is a highly concentrated liquid easily applied through all irrigations/drip systems or foliar spray and mixes readily with water, other fertilizers and herbicides. 4 It is 100% biogradeable, non-toxic, and will not harm the environment. It is a biological load of trillions of micro-organisms (beneficial bacteria and fungi) per gram. It has more than 12 of the most needed elements for the normal development of the plant. It is a biochemical substance which includes humic and fulvic acids, as well as auxins, gibberllins, and amino acids, among other growth enhancers. What will LEC (liquid earthworm castings) do for you? It has high chelating qualities which facilitates better uptake of nutrients. This means less use of other fertilizers and more balance in the soil. It improves the physical, chemical, and biological conditions of the soil. It helps the plant handle stress from herbicide, prolonged overdoses of agrochemicals, frosts, droughts, etc. It facilitates the absorption of nutrients by increasing cellular permeability. It stops retro-gradation of cations and releases tied up minerals into soil
     
  15. moorebait

    moorebait Registered

    How to make Worm Tea liquid earth worm castings

    Their few ways to make it or brew it

    you can take gallon jug fill with room temp water with If using tap water let stand for 24 hours or highly aerate with an aquarium pump and air stone to reduce the time to eliminate the cholorine.

    then add worm castings a cup full

    put cap on gallon jug

    let set a few minutes
    then shake the jug till water turns
    a light root beer color or black

    then use stays good in dark place about a week to 10 days
    depending on climate.

    second way :

    1 cup – Worm Castings
    1 tbsp. – brown sugar or molasses
    1 gal. – water
    Soak Worm Castings and
    brown sugar in water for
    24 hrs to make the tea.
    Strain and use within 24
    hours

    5 gallons of de-cholrinated water. If using tap water let stand for 24 hours or highly aerate with an aquarium pump and air stone to reduce the time to eliminate the cholorine.

    1/3 cup of Molasses. This is a food source for growing and multiplying the essential micro organisms.

    1/3 cup of Vegetable Oil. This aids when used as a foliage spray to help stick to the leaves and to smother insect eggs and larva.

    1 cup of Worm Castings.

    Optional additives:
    1 tablespoons of kelp meal
    1 tablespoon of humic acid

    Instructions for Brewing:
    1. Dissolve all the ingredients into the water except the worm castings.
    2. If you have a cheese cloth bag place the castings in it and lower into your water and attach to the bucket or whatever you're using (it will be dipped or steeped much like a tea bag into the water). If you don't have a bag the castings can be mixed into the water freely but will need to filtered out or care taken not to pour into your sprayer as the castings could clog the sprayer.
    3. Add heavy aeration air stones or whatever source used to aerate the water. Depending on the temperature you'll need to aerate the water for about 24 hours. Times may be shorter if temps are above 80 but longer if below 80.

    Make sure you use the finished tea within 24 hours or the microbes will start dieing and be reduced. The sooner you use the tea the better!

    Apply the tea as often and as much as you'd like for better results. You can't overuse it.

    Enjoy!

    moorebait
     

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