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Using Worm Castings as Cannabis Fertilizer

Worm casting as cannabis soil fertilizer

Worm castings are a potent organic fertilizer high in nitrogen and other nutrients. Commonly used by all types of farmers, learn more about the advantages of worm castings for cannabis plants below and how to utilize them in various ways in your grow-op.

An overview of worm-casting fertilizer

Worm castings, often known as vermicast, are simply red Californian worm (Eisenia fetida) waste. Worms feed on and disintegrate almost all organic matter, which means that anything that previously existed becomes worm food—from fruits and vegetables to humans.

Worms create manure (i.e., worm castings) when they feed, which is rich in nutrients and beneficial bacteria that support plant development and assist in maintaining a healthy soil environment due to their unique digestive processes.

What is vermiculture?

Vermiculture is the practice of utilizing worms to decompose waste. If you have a worm bin at home, you are already engaged in vermiculture. If you don’t, getting started is as easy as purchasing some Californian red worms, housing them in a bin or similar structure, and feeding them (which is as easy as reserving the scraps from the kitchen every time you cook).

What is vermicompost?

Vermicompost is the end result of composting worms (i.e., worm castings). Worm castings are dark brown or black in color and have a texture comparable to coffee grounds. They smell like fresh, healthy earth and may be used to top-dress potted plants or poured straight into your soil or potting mix before growing.

Advantages of using worm casting for cannabis plants

Gardeners have historically used worm castings to help their plants thrive. Cannabis cultivators may do the same. Worm castings are an excellent fertilizer with several advantages for cannabis plants, including the following:

Rich in nutrients

Like other types of manure, worm castings are naturally high in nutrients and organic materials, which your cannabis plants may absorb to help them develop. The most abundant component is nitrogen (in the form of extremely concentrated nitrates), although worm castings also contain phosphorus, magnesium, calcium, manganese, iron, carbon, zinc, and copper.

However, unlike ordinary chemical fertilizers, the nutrients in worm castings are not immediately available to plants, reducing the risk of overfeeding. The nutrients in worm castings must first be broken down by soil organisms, resulting in a far slower delivery of nutrients to your plants and allowing for more progressive, regulated feeding.

Enhance plant health

Worm castings immediately encourage both the vegetative development and the potential of cannabis plants to produce healthy, resinous blooms due to their high nutritional content. However, research demonstrates that worm castings benefit plants in the following ways:

  1. Increasing the rate of seed germination.
  2. Pathogen control, particularly for pathogens that cause root diseases like root rot and damping off.
  3. Pests, including mites, aphids, and mealy bugs, are repelled, in part because worm castings naturally weaken the protective shells of some of these insects.

Contribute to the improvement of soil quality or health

Worm castings not only provide a range of nutrients for your cannabis plants, but they also significantly enhance the quality of your soil. Also, the quality soil is the key to healthy cannabis plants. Worm castings benefit the soil in a variety of ways, including:

  1. Improving soil aeration: Well-aerated soils allow roots to breathe and develop easily, allowing cannabis plants to build vast, robust root systems.
  2. Increasing microbial soil life: Worm castings include nutrients that feed beneficial bacteria, fungi, and other microorganisms that make and store plant nutrients while also reducing pests and diseases.
  3. Increasing water retention: Soils with better moisture retention require less frequent watering and aid in anchoring cannabis nutrients that may otherwise leach out of the soil during watering.

The best worm castings for cannabis plants

The following are some of the prevalent concerns about the quality of worm castings:

  1. The ingredients the worms were fed: Putting harmful plant debris in your compost bin, for instance, may result in pathogens dwelling in your worm bin and potentially infecting any plants you subsequently fertilize with the completed worm castings.
  2. The age of the worm castings: Worms break down organic waste and generate castings in around 2-3 months. Using partially decomposed worm castings may convey decaying leftovers into your garden and attract pests or pathogens.
  3. Storage: Many gardeners choose to develop their worm castings for six months or more, stating that castings improve with age. When keeping worm castings, make sure they don’t dry out, get too humid, or get too much sunshine. All these elements can potentially harm some of the live organisms in the castings.

Additionally, the finest worm castings for cannabis are those made by you using a compost bin or heap. However, not every cannabis cultivator has the time or room to compost (which is understandable). Experts recommend purchasing high-quality worm castings from a garden center or store in that situation. Check to see if the worm castings are relatively fresh or have been well preserved.

How to grow cannabis using worm castings

Worm castings are an easy way to fertilize your cannabis plants, boost soil health, and reinforce the root zone. In this section, we’ll show you how to employ worm castings to help your cannabis garden’s health and development.

Utilizing worm castings in soil

One of the finest uses for worm castings in cannabis cultivation is as a soil amendment:

  1. Prepare a big, clean tub, wheelbarrow, or other containers to mix the soil.
  2. If you’re not utilizing any other natural fertilizers as a soil amendment, you can use up to 1 liter of worm castings for every 2 liters of soil.
  3. If you’re using other natural fertilizers to amend your soil, utilize 0.5 liters of worm castings for every 2 liters to prevent ending up with soil that is too nutrient dense (or “hot”).

Worm castings compost tea

You may also fertilize your cannabis plants by making a nutrient-rich “tea” out of worm castings.

  1. Add your worm castings into a porous bag and close.
  2. Fill a 20-liter bucket with unchlorinated water.
  3. Put the porous bag of worm castings into your bucket of water and soak overnight.
  4. Retrieve the bag of worm castings. Your worm casting tea is ready and can be utilized as a foliar spray or a liquid fertilizer.

Using worm castings to top-dress your soil

Another feature that makes worm castings an excellent choice is their versatility in terms of application. You may add worm castings to your indoor or outdoor gardens in a variety of methods, including directly combining with coco and other substrates, generating an organic compost tea, and using it as a top dressing. Apply worm castings in a circle around the base of your cannabis plants, around 0.5-1 cup (8-16 tablespoons). During the life cycle of your plants, adding a fresh layer of worm castings to your pots will keep your plants waxy green, healthy, and alive.

A worm castings top dressing and a simple application of plain water can correct deficiency issues and supercharge the growth medium. Within the first few days of use, you will notice a change. Furthermore, for regenerative farming and real-life organics, introducing worm castings during and after the growth cycle will only boost the fertility of the land. Recycling your old growth medium should be done regularly to save money on hard nutrients.

Do worm castings burn cannabis plants?

Worm castings provide less easily available nutrients to your plants than those contained in liquid chemical fertilizers. Instead, they are gradually and carefully released into the soil. Furthermore, many of the microorganisms in your soil ecosystem will feed on the nutrients in worm castings. Worm castings are, therefore, unlikely to induce nutrient burn in cannabis plants.

Main tips on utilizing worm castings

Here are top tips on how to use worm castings on cannabis plants;

  1. Check the package for an N-P-K analysis and which trace elements are listed before purchasing.
  2. Always purchase worm castings that are as fresh as possible. When squeezed, the bag should be heavy but soft. A competent worm castings producer will even include live worms in the package.
  3. The nutritional content of worm castings will vary depending on the kind. Mixing worm castings is an excellent concept that may significantly improve the flavor of cannabis flowers.
  4. Compost tea from worm castings and bat guano is high in nutrients and is packed with beneficial bacteria.
  5. Worm bins are simple to construct at home and excellent for recycling kitchen leftovers and yard debris. It’s also a great opportunity for kids to learn about the food web system and how important these small creatures are to sustainable farming.
  6. Avoid dried worm castings that have been sitting on a shelf for months, and always inquire if there is a new batch in the back. Garden centers frequently have a fresh supply in the back.

Worm castings have long been popular with gardeners and farmers. They provide all of the same advantages to cannabis farmers and make for a natural, flexible fertilizer that nourishes your plants and enhances soil health and structure.

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Picture of Janice Bernstein

Janice Bernstein

Janice has been on the cannabis scene for many years now, though she tends to keep to herself and might fly under the radar for many, even those well-versed in cannabis growing. Her writings on different methods of watering cannabis helped bring the use of reverse osmosis water to the forefront of cannabis gardening. About this Author

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