Worm Castings and Root Growth

Worm Castings Boost Root Growth

Last week my good pal Jack Chambers informed me that he had started a brand new podcast series on his site. I was definitely excited for him (podcasting is actually something I’ve been thinking about trying out myself), and I let him know I’d make mention of it here.

Well, as per usual things got really busy for me and I didn’t end up getting around to even listening/watching (it’s actually a video podcast) until today. Whats kinda cool is that the topic of the podcast ties in well with my recent post about the potential for increased drought resistance offered by worm castings.

Jack talks about the incredible root growth that castings (he uses the term “vermicompost” but in this context we are definitely talking about pretty much the same thing) seem to stimulate, and it makes me wonder if this ties in with the drought resistance. With a more substantial root system it seems feasible that there may be increased ability to take advantage of minute quantities of water, unavailable to plants with a smaller root network. This is really just speculation, but to me it does seem like a reasonable possibility.

Anyway, I definitely recommend you check out Jack’s podcast – very interesting stuff! Hopefully it is the first of many more.

[tags]vermicompost, worm castings, worm compost, plant roots, plant growth, worm composting vermicomposting, sonoma valley worm farm[/tags]

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    • Kami
    • February 16, 2008


    Did you and your wife have a baby? You hinted at that in one of your posts (cannot remember which one). If so, CONGRATULATIONS!

    I am so impressed with the difference in root structures. I am curious, do the roots store h2o? I know they take it up and give it to the plant, but do they store it too? If so, that could explain some of the drought tolerance — more roots, store more water, better drought tolerance.

    Anyway, thanks for posting the video.

    • Bentley
    • February 17, 2008

    Hi Kami,
    I seem to be confusing people with my recent baby comment.
    Our daughter was actually born back in September and actually just turned 5 months on Valentines Day.
    Thanks for the congratulations though. It has certainly been an interesting experience – I’m constantly amazed by how quickly they grow!


  1. I have a question….I have been starting seeds with my castings mixed in, as a topping and with just worm tea, but all have had a problem with fungus gnats killing them.

    How do I keep the gnat larva from killing the baby plants? Thanks!

    • Bentley
    • February 24, 2008

    Hi LoriAnn,
    Fungus gnats can be a royal pain, thats for sure. If they are coming from your worm bin (ie in the castings) you might want to try drying out the castings before adding them.
    You might want to try a biological control to see if you can get rid of the gnats. There are several commonly-used options – predatory mites, predatory nematodes, and a specialized bacteria (Bacillus thuringiensis) that kills soft-bodied insect larvae. I recommend checking out Gardens Alive – they have something called “Knock-Out Gnats” that is a liquid drench (with Bt bacteria).


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