A friend of mine has a home business I had never heard of before I met her. She and her family sell worm castings. They raise the worms, gather the castings, and package them up for customers.
“Castings” is another name for worm poo. No, worm castings aren’t smelly or icky – they’re actually like rich, dark, soft soil. They act as an organic fertilizer, releasing nutrients and water to the plant only as it needs it. My friend gave me some to try, and the results were amazing.
We have a large field which includes an area we marked off to plant a garden. Each year, my husband plans to plow it up with his dad’s antique John Deer tractor, but every spring he gets too busy. Two summers ago, I decided to just plant a small area instead, one that I could prepare and tend on my own. I already had the castings, so I bought a few cherry tomato plants. Being homeschoolers, we decided to turn our garden project into a science experiement.
We divided the plants into two groups. One group we planted with the castings, adding a large handful into the hole before planting, and then adding a little more around the base of the plant when we were finished. The other group we just set into the soil with no castings at all.
That summer, our area suffered from a terrible drought. Unfortuantely for the plants, I had placed my garden quite far from the house, and I often forgot to water them. In fact, I think I only carried a watering can out twice to the little garden. It’s no wonder the plants without the castings died away.
But to our surprise, the plants we had treated with the worm castings thrived. Not only did they grow, but they grew beyond the supports we had set up. They produced…and produced…and produced! We had tomatoes through September and into October. I even had to pick a few tomatoes before they were ripe because we were beginning to get the first frosts of winter.
I’m convinced. We’re going to try it again this year, and I can’t wait for the results! Maybe we’ll even get that big garden planted.