It’s that time of year again! I’m of course referring to that fact that it is now spring! For our worms, this means that they are coming out of hibernation, wiping that sleep out of their eyes (well, they would if they had eyes), and hungrily devouring their buffet of compost. For us it means that we are busily working away at feeding worms, screening vermicompost, and taking vermicompost orders.
For many of you, this means that you are starting to get your soil beds ready and your seeds sown. For others, it means that you are starting to think about lawn and pasture care again. And still, for others it means that you are look at your fields of peaches, grapes, or other fruits with a heightened sense of concern and protection.
While vermicompost can be easily used and applied throughout the year, one of the best ways to use it is at the beginning of the growing season (aka right now!). If you are starting seeds indoors, vermicompost can be used to replace 10-20% of your regular potting soil. When starting seeds outdoors, add a layer of vermicompost to your hole or trench before sowing the seed. If you are buying plants from the store and transplanting them into your garden, add vermicompost to the hole or coat the roots with it.
This time of year also coincides with the waking up of the grasses in our lawns and pastures. Vermicompost can be applied to these grasses in the form of a liquid extract called compost tea. We have some great free information on our website about this extract and how to use it (Tea Time in the Tropics) if you are interested in learning more. Spraying tea on lawn grass or pastures helps the grasses grow better and become more drought –hardy. This property that is definitely important in the Rocky Mountain area where we generally seem to be short on moisture. The microbial component of tea can help aggregate the soil, which promotes increased rates of water infiltration and increased water storage capacity.
This liquid extract can also be applied to the soils in vineyards and fields of fruits trees, although for this, we do recommend that you apply it again later once the vine/tree leaves are out. The liquid extract can also be applied to leaves throughout the season. This coats the leaves with microorganisms which grow on the surface of the leaves to protect plants from some diseases.
Whichever your situation, vermicompost can help you with the growing process. Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions or if you are considering using vermicompost to grow this year. We shamelessly promote the capabilities of the lowly worm and we love sharing information about how worms can help us help our plants and soil!
One last thing—We want to take a bit of time to thank our web designer, Ellen!! Didn’t she do a great job? We have been here in Fort Collins making vermicompost for awhile now, but we realized that in order to be considered a serious business, we needed a serious web presence. We turned to Ellen Boeke, a talented partner at Avietech, who also turned out to be a pretty close neighbor. We did a sheet composting project for her last season so that she could garden where struggling turf had been before. We bonded over that. Ellen liked her new soil; we liked the webpage she designed for us. Thanks Ellen!