Worm Casting Research Links

Organic growers could soon have another weapon in their arsenal, courtesy of the humble worm. Cornell University researchers have found that vermicompost — the product if composting using various species of worms — is not only an excellent fertilizer, but could also help prevent a pathogen that has been a scourge to greenhouse growers. By teaming up with a New York composting business, they believe they have found an organic way to raise healthier plants with less environmental impact. (more…) – Cornell

Vermicomposts are organic materials, broken down by interactions between earthworms and microorganisms, in a mesophilic process (up to 25 C), to produce fully-stabalized organic soil amendments with low C:N ratios.  They have a high and diverse microbial and enzymatic activity, fine particulate structure, good moisture-holding capacity, and contain nutrients such as N, K, P, Ca and Mg in forms readily taken up by plants.(more…) – Ohio State University

Most people involved in gardening and commercial agriculture have a generally positive feeling about worm castings. Over 100 years ago, Charles Darwin was the first person to carefully observe the action of the earthworms and the benefit of the castings they produced. Several universities have researched the benefits of worm castings, but specific knowledge by the general public and even trained agriculture scientists is still very limited. (more…)

How can earthworms be beneficial to us as turf managers? We know of the natural aerification that takes place from earthworm activity in the soil, ultimately opening up pore space for root growth and improving water and oxygen movement, but is there any other way that we can benefit from these slimy creatures? It turns out that through a process called vermicomposting we can potentially reap countless advantages in making turfgrass more stress tolerant while improving soil structure while reducing dependence on chemical and pesticide use. (more…)

Unfortunately, the earthworm doesn’t get the admiration afforded the colorful butterfly or the cute hummingbird. But, this small slimy creature is certainly one of the most beneficial organisms you can have in your yard.

Worms perform several functions in your garden soil. Their tunneling activity helps aerate the soil. The channels they make as they move through the soil allow rain to enter the soil more rapidly, reducing runoff and the potential for erosion. This also helps improve soil structure by creating a loose soil that is easily penetrated by roots. (more) – USDA

Another Success Story – 3 year casting program that demonstrates an overall lower cost of course operation, improved turf quality with closer cut greens and a healthier look – on 50% less water. Worm castings have been used as a fertilizer for many years. In 1986 the public began looking for an alternative to chemical and synthetic fertilizers. It was not long before most organic growers had used the worm castings and began talking about them to garden clubs. Gardeners and friends. In 1991 Larry Martin, of Vermitechnology Unlimited of Florida started documenting research on worm castings… (more…)

North Carolina State University researchers have dug deeper into the mechanisms behind insect resistance of plants grown in soil amended with vermicompost, and the preliminary results suggest this may provide an ecological friendly means of managing pests in vegetable crops.

Yasmin Cardoza, an entomologist and soil arthropod ecologist, along with graduate student Amos Little, found that different insect species responded differently to host plant resistance of brassica crops. They also determined that it takes as little as a 20 percent concentration of vermicompost mix in the soil to boost the resistance of host plants against caterpillar and aphid pests. (more…) NC State University