Worm castings cannot burn plants, lawns, anything that grows, or anything alive. They are perfectly safe for plants, people, and pets since there are no chemicals in our worm castings, you can’t harm or burn your plants.
Yes, worm castings contain some nitrogen. But, the nitrogen contained in the castings are just the beginning. When the castings are applied to the soil, they immediately begin producing nitrogen. However, they will not release it until the plant signals that it is needed. This reduces nitrogen run off to almost zero. When using man made fertilizers, all the nitrogen in the mixture is applied at once. The plant can’t use it all, so much is wasted.
Most producers of worm casting suggest 10lbs for 100 square feet. We believe this is somewhat heavy. If you have an established yard you can cut back about a third on that amount. An established lawn is one which has been seeded or sodded and has been growing for several years. If you live in a place with poor soil (hard packed, clay, sandy, or depleted from overuse) or a new lawn, you should consider the 10lbs. to 100 square feet as about right.
When applying worm castings in the “Castings Tea” form (recipe on the bag) it has been reported that they have anti-pest qualities. We have been told by our customers that they have used our castings in the “tea” form and had great success. We have also done research in this area and have read on Organic sites that the castings tea is highly recommended for the purpose of repelling insect pests. We cannot provide hard science to confirm this, only our customer feedback and other recommendations and success stories.
Are they used in the same way? Rescue Dirt is what is left of the peat we feed the worms. After the shaking process (this is where we separate the worms from their amazing castings and the worms are then given more feed and begin to produce more castings), there is about 17% waste. This contains castings, (it’s impossible to capture 100% of the castings using our process.) hatch material, (This contains the cocoon eggs that the worms lay. Some of this is used to grow new worms, the rest is placed in the rescue dirt.) and large pieces of peat and other materials. We live in Iowa so there is always limestone rock, pea gravel, and compost present. In contrast, the castings are almost 100% worm castings. The Rescue Dirt is particularly useful when applied prior to laying sod and is extraordinarily good topsoil.
Central Iowa Organic Fertilizer Earthworm Castings are organic. We are Organic Materials Review Institute (OMRI) Listed organic. OMRI is the gold standard of organic. To be listed with OMRI, a long arduous process must be completed including having the contents of the castings lab tested by an independent reputable lab. FYI: there is a difference in Listed and Certified. No manure product can be certified organic; worm castings are worm feces (#PooIsGood). Therefore, the highest any such product can get is Listed. Be assured that our worms are feed a combination of finely ground grains and NO waste or garbage so there is no smell. This makes our castings perfect for indoor use as well as outdoor. Enjoy!
Typically, worm castings look a lot like coffee grounds. Those castings are from adult worms. Younger worms produce castings that are smaller and finer, but still have a bit of a rougher appearance. The castings from any age worm are full of microbes which is what produces the nutrition for your lawn and plants.
Is there anywhere that I should not us them? Castings can be used on any plant life. The only caution would be herbs. Our herb customers usually cut the amount used in half from what any other plant would use. Too much can make the herbs grow too quickly and get somewhat woody. So, for herbs, less can mean more.
Don’t be worried about how much to apply. Because there are no chemicals, you can’t use too much. But, we’ve got you covered. Instructions for use for all types of plantings, trees, and lawn are on the front of the bag. The easiest answer for plants is to put a handful in the bottom of your planting hole and put the plant or seed right on top of the castings. Because castings are nature, the plant and castings communicate, and the needed nutrition is immediately provided by the castings to the plant. For trees, we recommend lining the planting hole with two inches of castings and placing the tree roots directly on the castings. Because trees are expensive, we recommend filling the hole with 1/3 soil, 1/3 Castings, and 1/3 compost. House plants can be planted the same way as outdoor plants at first and for plants already in containers, they can be fed a couple of tablespoons for small/medium pots and a handful or two for larger pots. See question number three for specific information on lawns. Castings can be applied through a broadcast spreader, typically at a medium setting, or toss it out just like you are tossing chicken feed. Because there are no chemicals, there will be no streaking. We are happy to answer specific questions for you at: help@centraliowaorganicfertilizer or call 515-961-0357.
Worm casting can be stored anywhere. They will not produce any gas and will be fine at any temperature. They are nature. Put them in the garage and pick up later where you left off when ready to use again. If they dry out completely, (This takes a long time, as they retain an amazing amount of moisture.) open the bag, sit the open bag outside, let it rain or snow on the castings. Microbes will be present almost immediately and they will be ready to go. If you forget about them and notice, when ready to use again, that they are dry, just give the castings some extra water. Additionally, if you have a compost pile you want to speed up, mix them in. You will be stunned how fast things take off.
The big difference between CIOF earthworm castings is probably the OMRI Organic listing and that our worms are not fed any garbage or waste products. Our worms are fed a combination of finely ground grains. The vast majority of worm castings producers have not subjected their castings to the very intrusive OMRI testing process. Beyond that, worm castings are pretty similar. A side benefit is that castings will break up your soil allowing native worms to return.
Using our worm castings on your vegetables maintains them as being organic and vegan. The castings are worm feces and do not contain any chemicals or animal product or by product. The castings work with microbes, good bacteria, which produce nutrients for your plants as the plant needs it. Since the nutrition is produced only when the plant needs it, this helps eliminate run off as found with manmade and chemical fertilizers. #naturesperfectfertilizer.
Worm castings were the original fertilizer. Castings will work right along with whatever you are growing to make it better. Castings actually communicate with the plant life to determine which nutrients the plants need and then produce it. The same is true with moisture. Castings hold moisture until the plant needs it, then releases it to the plant at the appropriate time. Even other manure isn’t as ready as casting to go right to work improving your soil and fertilizing your lawn, garden, or plants. Worms can and do live in cow manure, chicken manure, in fact all manure. However, our worms are not exposed to any manure or waste product and have no odor. Iowa was once a tall grass prairie and in places the topsoil was 5 feet deep. This topsoil was created by worm castings and prairie fires. For the science please read: Teeming with Microbes. It explains the science much better than can CIOF.
Worm castings do aerate soil. This happens because worm casting collect moisture and expand. They release the moisture when your plants/lawn need moisture. When that happens, the castings contract. This happens constantly and thus, the castings are continuously expanding and contracting and breaking up your soil. Castings are particularly effective if you have hard packed or lots of clay soil.