Eliminate harsh fertilizers using only earthworms and compost? Does this sound a bit farfetched? Well actually it is not. After all, why do gardeners apply fertilizers? It is because their delicious tomatoes and sweet corn must drain nutrients from the soil to support their own growth. In a few years, a once productive garden becomes a disappointing and non-productive plot of earth. What is a gardener to do?
Well part of the answer can be found in compost. Well-crafted compost contains macro and micro nutrients; many of the latter not commonly found in fertilizer and which all veggie garden plants need for peak growth, health and productivity. But the problem is that plants, veggies included, cannot use compost directly as a food source. It needs to be converted into useful form by beneficial soil microbes and on a larger scale, by earthworms.
Earthworms do basically three things in life; they eat, excrete and create other earthworms. Having practiced for millennia they are extraordinarily talented in all three areas. When they are eating they consume primarily organic matter in the soil. By adding compost to the soil a gardener is essentially hanging out a “free buffet” sign for earthworms of all species. They simply love the stuff.
What earthworms eat they must eliminate and when they do so, the end product is called “castings”. Castings marvelously are the soil nutrients in compost that plants cannot use directly converted to water soluble pellets called castings which are in exactly the form that plants can best consume. As it turns out worms because of where they live deliver these castings directly to the plant, in and among its root system.
Castings cannot burn the roots of a plant as an overdose of chemical fertilizers sometimes does. They are as organic and as green a soil additive as anyone could imagine.
Finally, well fed worms create more worms in bunches, to continue and expand the underground natural fertilizer factory. The gardener need do nothing more than supply large quantities of compost.
Just imagine the savings! The cost of compost is absolutely nothing other than the time and labor to pile it up. The cost of earthworms is also nil; simply distribute compost and they will appear to consume it. The actual compost pile, if it is well constructed, will literally crawl with them.
Escape the perils of chemical fertilizers; create compost and enlist earthworms today!