Basil harvest, after fertilizing with Soil Power Earthworm Castings.

Grown from a single seedling, this pie-pumpkin vine has engulfed a trellis and spread through the surrounding beds.

In two of our test garden beds, I’m using All-Purpose Organic Fertilizer with worm castings. The plants have exploded with growth. I’ve never seen a pumpkin plant so healthy, robust and full of fruit and flowers. At right, you can see it on our new Squash and Cucumber Trellis (look for it in our spring lineup). Cody, our product designer, is almost hidden by the gigantic vine. I’m calling it the Mt. Philo of plants. I’m also harvesting bowls of big, beautiful, basil leaves on a weekly basis.

Castings, or vermicompost, are created when worms ingest organic matter, break it down into plant nutrients, and leave behind their manure, which improves the physical, chemical and biological properties of the soil. You can mix worm castings into potting mix, add it to raised beds, or use it to top-dress perennials, trees and shrubs throughout the growing season.

Over the years I’ve seen that worm castings alone won’t do the job of fertilizing your plants. You still need to feed with slow-release granular fertilizer. However, as the photos show, worm castings add a little something extra in the form of micronutrients and beneficial organisms.

Deborah Miuccio

Deborah tests our products — and helps develop new ones — in our company’s “backyard” in Burlington, VT.