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Sat Mar 7, 2020, 08:57 PM

Repost from Lounge -- where the gardeners must be out for dinner.

Oh, the carnage. Warning: Too many earthworms died for this post.
So the time came when I had to go wash some rocks. Specifically landscaping rocks that I used for a pathway that is also an essential drainage area for the yard. It's about three inches thick with decorative rock, probably more than I need, but I learned quickly that only the surface looks clean. Everything else is dirt.

It occurred to me as I tried to pick out the bruised earthworms from the rocks that came up with a shovel, that the dirt was actually worm castings. That's at least 7 to 5 years of castings. So I collected the "dirt" and applied it to my ornamental plants. But I wondered if I could also use it for my edible plants, though I'm not sure that fertilizer could have washed down to the path from the higher part of the slope?

If you grow your own edible garden, how would you handle it?

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Arrow 16 replies Author Time Post
Reply Repost from Lounge -- where the gardeners must be out for dinner. (Original post)
Baitball Blogger Mar 2020 OP
handmade34 Mar 2020 #1
Baitball Blogger Mar 2020 #3
WhiteTara Mar 2020 #7
Baitball Blogger Mar 2020 #8
WhiteTara Mar 2020 #9
Baitball Blogger Mar 2020 #10
Botany Mar 2020 #2
Baitball Blogger Mar 2020 #4
handmade34 Mar 2020 #5
Baitball Blogger Mar 2020 #6
NutmegYankee Mar 2020 #11
Baitball Blogger Mar 2020 #12
NutmegYankee Mar 2020 #13
Baitball Blogger Mar 2020 #14
NutmegYankee Mar 2020 #15
Baitball Blogger Mar 2020 #16

Response to Baitball Blogger (Original post)

Sat Mar 7, 2020, 09:05 PM

1. not quite clear about question

worm castings on garden? fertilizer? please clarify question

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Response to handmade34 (Reply #1)

Sat Mar 7, 2020, 09:10 PM

3. Okay. Good question.

The fertilizer I refer to include 10-10-10 that I apply to grass on the higher slope and Camelia/Rose/Azalea fertilizer. Under the worst case scenario, it might leech down to the lower slope. No worries from direct contact with that kind of store bought fertilizer and the pathway.

So, I'm trying to determine the safety and purity of the worm castings that I'm digging up on the lower slope. Can I apply it to edible herbs I have growing in containers?

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Response to Baitball Blogger (Reply #3)

Sat Mar 7, 2020, 10:43 PM

7. Well, they're not dead, so

there's that. I wouldn't use chemicals for anything, but you can remediate the soil with mycorrhiza (microscopic fungi)

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Response to WhiteTara (Reply #7)

Sat Mar 7, 2020, 10:48 PM

8. Thank you!

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Response to Baitball Blogger (Reply #3)

Sun Mar 8, 2020, 10:39 AM

9. Okay, on rereading,

use that compost on the edibles. Add some mycorrhizae liquid to the place where you're adding the new soil and the little baby fungi will clean up all the bad stuff and add life to soil.

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Response to WhiteTara (Reply #9)

Sun Mar 8, 2020, 10:47 AM

10. +1

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Response to Baitball Blogger (Original post)

Sat Mar 7, 2020, 09:10 PM

2. Most all the earthworms we see are non native invasive species

Their castings are good for plants and they help in the life cycle of supportive fungi but
overall our common earthworm are not good for the environment. In the vast majority of
our forested ecosystems they digest the leaf litter before it can become thick enough to
help in the forest floor's biodynamics.

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Response to Botany (Reply #2)

Sat Mar 7, 2020, 09:12 PM

4. I did not know that.

There were two things that were true when I first moved into this house over twenty years ago. The first, that I couldn't find an earthworm to save my life. The property had been unoccupied for a year and the ground dry. And the second was that there wasn't a lizard to be found. Now we have tons of both.

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Response to Baitball Blogger (Reply #4)

Sat Mar 7, 2020, 09:42 PM

5. same here

20+ years ago there were no earthworms in my soon to be garden... now they are prolific after years of adding compost, chicken manure and organic matter such as leaves from my woods

worm castings are excellent fertilizer and there is no reason not to use them... doesn't seem to be a problem with potential runoff although if you are certified organic, there is a concern

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Response to handmade34 (Reply #5)

Sat Mar 7, 2020, 09:46 PM

6. That's good to know. Thank you.

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Response to Baitball Blogger (Original post)

Sun Mar 15, 2020, 09:44 AM

11. Worm casting are fine for edible food growing. Commercial fertilizers are as well.

There is nothing dangerous with 10-10-10 for food growth. Most organic fertilizers are the same substances, but made from natural and sustainable processes, whereas commercial fertilizer is factory made and usually requires oil/gas. The plants do not care. They get the nutrients either method.

I have both organic beds and non-organic beds. My organic beds are raised and have a custom soil mix and are infused with mycorrhizae. The non-organic beds are natural New England Charlton type soil (fine sandy loam) and would require substantial efforts to convert to a sustainable compost infused garden area, so I just hit that spot with osmocote. After years of testing between the two systems, the results were negligible in differences.

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Response to NutmegYankee (Reply #11)

Sun Mar 15, 2020, 09:47 AM

12. I have been using osmocote as a fertilizer.

Is there a place to purchase mycorrhizae?

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Response to Baitball Blogger (Reply #12)

Sun Mar 15, 2020, 09:51 AM

13. I get it from Pro-Mix soils and had gotten it in a plastic tub from gardeners.com.

I donít see it this year on their website.

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Response to NutmegYankee (Reply #13)

Sun Mar 15, 2020, 09:56 AM

14. Thank you.

In my 30 day social distancing regime, I plan to spend more time in my garden. Thank you for the information.

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Response to Baitball Blogger (Reply #14)

Sun Mar 15, 2020, 10:03 AM

15. I'd look online.

I'm sure that hasn't been bought out during the panic shopping.

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Response to NutmegYankee (Reply #15)

Sun Mar 15, 2020, 10:17 AM

16. LOL!

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