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storing and using worm castings

Posted by shireen Baltimore, MD/7 (My Page) on
Fri, Aug 27, 10 at 1:33

I live in an apartment, and have had a Worm Factory running for a year and a half. The bottom tray has some nice rich worm castings that i'd like to harvest soon.

Since the growing season is winding down outdoors, none of my friends with gardens need it. So I was going to use some of it to make a potting mix for my indoor plants.

I set aside a small sample of castings in a container, and several days later, it had completely dried out and would not absorb water. Therefore, I'm trying to understand exactly how it's used as a soil amendment.

My questions: how do you store worm castings? Is there a way to keep it stored moist without causing fungus or mold to grow on it? If i use it to dress the top of potted plants, do i have to cover it with something to keep the moisture level from getting too low? If the castings completely dry out, can it be salvaged by adding water and soaking?

I'd also like to make some potting mix for my plants. A search of this forum yielded some recipes using peat moss. Does anyone have recipes that use coconut coir (it's more sustainable)?

Thanks!

:)

cheers,
shireen


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: storing and using worm castings

Shireen, I've never had to store vermicompost for long periods of time, but here's what I have in my notes just in case I ever did:
http://www.wormswrangler.com/articles/how_to_store_worm_castings.html

Unless it is nearly pure castings, I don't think you want it to dry out completely. My personal preference is to harvest vermicompost that contains 40-50% castings. That can be stored in a well ventilated bin for a couple of months without getting moldy...but that's in a mild climate. Maybe others can comment what's best for more extreme climates.

Here is a link that might be useful: How to store worm castings.


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RE: storing and using worm castings

I stored well done compost in an open 5 gallon bucket over winter (6 months) and it did fine. No sour smell at all that I noticed or any company commented on. I kept it in a cool porch above freezing. I used some in the winter for potting and the rest this spring in the garden. Sorry I have never used coconut choir in potting mix so I can't help there.
Curt


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RE: storing and using worm castings

I don't let mine dry out. I store it in Rubbermaid totes with holes in them. Do you ever notice when you buy compost in bags, the bags have holes in them? The microbes need air. Even with holes, the VC doesn't dry out but I've never had it get moldy. I have VC that's been stored since last year in the house and some in the garage.

Deanna


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