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Measuring the Benefits of Castings & Leachate on Plant Growth
Benefits of Castings & Leachate – 4-10-19
The experiment has started! Today is day 0. This morning I prepared all my soils and put them in the pots. The initial plan was to have five soils and five pots of each with three seeds in each pot. But instead of assuming that I would have enough soil for everything, I should have measured it two weeks ago. In the end I had enough soil for 4 pots (and for the leachate part only 3 pots).
The good part is that we can stick to the plan of using five soils: (1) pure sandy garden soil, (2) pure commercial potting soil, (3) 2:1 mixed sandy garden soil : potting soil, (4) 2:1 mixed sandy garden soil : worm castings, and (5) pure sandy garden soil, but will be watered with diluted (9:1) leachate.
And here is an impression of how the pots look like:
I tried to keep the volume of soil as similar as possible in each pot. Due to the nature of the soils, the weight is different. I also noticed that the mix with worm castings was slightly wetter than the rest due to the fresh castings. When mixing, it caused the sand to stick a bit more to itself and the castings, forming small soil balls. In the first image you can also see the holes I made. I put in each hole a seed. In two holes seeds from one flower and in the last hole a seed from a different flower (see yesterday’s post). In soil 2 (potting soil) I made a mistake of mixing the seeds between the flowers. It should not have any influence, but still worthwhile to remember when analyzing the results. After putting the seeds in the holes, they were closed.
Another thing I mentioned yesterday was the floating of the seeds on top of the water. This morning I noticed most of them were submerged, and when touching the seeds that were still on top of the water they also submerged. My guess is that the shape of the seeds causes them to capture a small layer of air that keeps them floating instead of the oil content in the seeds.
Finally, I put everything in propagators for easy storage and handling, which will also serve as a barrier against pests later on.
About the Author
My name is Myckel Habets from the Netherlands and for the past decade I’ve worked as a plant biologist at Leiden University. There I investigate developmental-related aspects of plant growth, on a molecular and cellular level. Last year I moved to a new house, with a large garden and obtained my first wormery. During the time since starting this system I’ve learned a lot about how to handle my worms properly, mostly due to the hot summer of 2018. My interests are plants and things related to them in a broad sense, computers and software development, small scale experiments and crowdfunding local entrepreneurs.