Composting worms and Soil Amendments


Prophet

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Hey guys, I'm beginning a grow for some of my vegetables and got some Red Wigglers to add some natural castings to the soil. I have some Evergreen compost and manure, soil conditioner with crushed egg shells, kelp meal, alfalfa meal, bone meal and dry tomato fertilizer mixed in.

The question is I know the worms turn things into nutrient rich castings that are mainly Nitrogen enriched, but do the worms render the Kelp/Bone/Alfalfa meals useless for their own NPK values when they process them? Basically do the meals come out as Nitrogen rich castings only or do they still retain their NPK values? Thanks
 
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alp

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I think you worry too much. Not an expert, but worms are supposed to be very good helpers in churning out lovely compost.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vermicompost

If you're worried that you have too much kale, why not add well ground oatmeal, bananas and egg shells (you have mentioned it)?
 
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I have to agree with alp. And, don't fret to much about what you feed them and the "outcome". As long as you feed them what is acceptable for red wigglers, they will turn out some of the best fertilizer known to man.
 
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Prophet

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Thanks for the input guys but sorry if the question seemed confusing. Its not the fact I'm worrying too much as much is the fact I generally would like an answer to the question. I'm doing multiple organic grows with several vegetable/plant types and documenting them with journals. I'm going to be using these amendments as well as many others in the future and need to know if I'm wasting materials or not or are the worms making a better overall amendment if you will that actually include the processed forms of the NPK from each amendment. I've asked this question on several other forums and it seems like nobody really knows the answer to this. I may just have to experiment, document then post my results so others will know if they plan on using worms how I plan on using them..Again, much appreciated anyways
 
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Your question was not confusing. IN MHO, you are "wasting" materials if you are trying to get your red wigglers to turn out a "better" amendments. The worms turn out the same quality amendments as long as you feed them their acceptable foods. That's what red wigglers do.
 

alp

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Are you going to get the finished product i.e. compost from worms on your materials analysed scientifically to gauge its NPK values? You could contact the company which sold you the worms to find out more or any universities which specialise in worm cast, worms and their foods and their end products.

Without scientific analyses, you can't really publish your findings.. in my very humble opinion.

Disclaimer: I don't know anything about worm cast, but to publish findings, you might need figures to support your premises.
 

Prophet

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Your question was not confusing. IN MHO, you are "wasting" materials if you are trying to get your red wigglers to turn out a "better" amendments. The worms turn out the same quality amendments as long as you feed them their acceptable foods. That's what red wigglers do.
Input noted, Thanks
 

Prophet

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Are you going to get the finished product i.e. compost from worms on your materials analysed scientifically to gauge its NPK values? You could contact the company which sold you the worms to find out more or any universities which specialise in worm cast, worms and their foods and their end products.

Without scientific analyses, you can't really publish your findings.. in my very humble opinion.

Disclaimer: I don't know anything about worm cast, but to publish findings, you might need figures to support your premises.
Yea I will be having it analyzed more than likely. I'm not really publishing it for anyone else other than personal knowledge to help me excel at my career. I've contacted the worm farm already to no valuable input so far. I like your suggestion to contact universities though as that may have to be my new route to try. Just from my current knowledge on the subject already I think the castings are going to improve upon the ratios significantly but I have yet to start research. There is virtually no information on the matter besides personal opinions. I will find out soon enough though...Thanks for the information it was indeed very helpful
 

Prophet

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I would be interested in learning about your findings.
Oh really? I didn't think there were too many people who would care about such hence the lack of info. I've found. Do you use worms in your grows any? What all do you grow?
I have a couple more soil mixes to mix up and let cook for about a month and will begin my research in about 2wks so if you want me to keep you updated for sure I will
 
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I have a vericompost setup indoors. I feed them kitchen scraps and use the runoff and castings for my indoor flowers and vegetables. I also have an outdoor compost pile rich with worms. I mainly use the end products for my vegetable garden which includes peas, lettuce, spinach, cucumbers, tomatoes, onions, garlic and strawberries.
 

Prophet

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I have a vericompost setup indoors. I feed them kitchen scraps and use the runoff and castings for my indoor flowers and vegetables. I also have an outdoor compost pile rich with worms. I mainly use the end products for my vegetable garden which includes peas, lettuce, spinach, cucumbers, tomatoes, onions, garlic and strawberries.
Oh ok very nice. I do tomatoes, squash, cucumber,okra, kale, broccoli, eggplant and corn...use to do strawberries in hanging baskets but the birds kept eating them
 
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The nitrogen that worms intake is output in castings. The nitrogen amount is not affected by worms. The worms cannot possibly go through all of the fertilizer. What you have to worry about are the micro-organisms which change the nitrogen into a food the plant can uptake. You can have all the nitrogen in the world but without the micro-organisms it's usless. Worms only do a very small percentage of this process which is called nitrogen fixation. The soil additives are only minimally changed by worms. The NPK values stay basically the same. The micro-organisms change the NPK in your fertilizers and additives into food for plants, not worms. The worms basically distribute the NPK around and the micro-organisms and bacteria do the rest
 
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Prophet

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The nitrogen that worms intake is output in castings. The nitrogen amount is not affected by worms. The worms cannot possibly go through all of the fertilizer. What you have to worry about are the micro-organisms which change the nitrogen into a food the plant can uptake. You can have all the nitrogen in the world but without the micro-organisms it's usless. Worms only do a very small percentage of this process which is called nitrogen fixation. The soil additives are only minimally changed by worms. The NPK values stay basically the same. The micro-organisms change the NPK in your fertilizers and additives into food for plants, not worms. The worms basically distribute the NPK around and the micro-organisms and bacteria do the rest
Very interesting information Chuck, much appreciated. I'm hoping the AACT take care of the micros and bacteria part for me for the plants. Thanks again
 

alp

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@Prophet I was toying with the idea of using a hotbin which churns out compost in no time.
 

Prophet

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@Prophet I was toying with the idea of using a hotbin which churns out compost in no time.
Yea I've only read about them. They seem extremely useful and efficient, especially during colder times. If you decide to go that route keep me updated.
 

alp

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I was wondering if @BigC would have a go. @BigC if you want to, make sure the place is not on fire. The temperature involved is quite frightening. LOL!

Now I have a dilemma - I'm going to get a wormery; apparently, it's an indoor thing! Ahhhhhhhhhhh ...
 
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