The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Worm casting experiment

Spreading worm castings

Kayla picked up this free sample of worm castings at an agricultural conference last weekend. The producers had some pretty hefty claims --- they promised that if you spread the contents of their packet around a single plant, it would produce twice as much as its sisters. "That sounds like an experiment for your blog!" Kayla said.
Worm castings
I let her pick the most average-looking strawberry plant from from my recently weeded bed. (In case I lose my notes, it's the second one from the southeast corner.) Kayla then sprinkled the entire packet around the lucky winner, after which we laid down a newspaper-and-straw mulch around every plant in the bed.

I'm dubious of the producer's claims since I add so much organic matter to my beds in the first place. But time will tell! Here's hoping Kayla, I, or one of you thoughtful readers will remember to make me measure yields next May and June. The hard part will be keeping myself from eating the evidence....

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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Dear Anna, Worm castings and worm juice are miraculous stuff! The castings are especially beneficial for squashes of all sorts. And, a worm "farm" is easy to maintain, being yet another way to recycle stuff. My only problem is keeping them alive! I feel the weight of 1,000 worm souls that perished this year. I am in the city, here in Berkeley, CA. and it has been our first hot summer in many many years, not to mention incredibly dry. Dry beyond dry! So dry that we have water regulations and I chose to not grow much. So hot and dry that all the worms died! But, have bin, will start over. So very worth it. It did yield me a big bucket of castings which I am using for plants that are looking weak. Perennial, decorative plants. Then, to clean out old bin, get new worms and start over! I also got a big bucket of worm juice which I more or less threw at the roses-aiming for the ground, and boy did they appreciate it. Seriously consider a worm "farm" bin. So easy if not neglected. Much reward for so little effort.
Comment by Rachel Mon Oct 19 10:56:15 2015

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