Worm Castings are an integral, but often overlooked ingredient in all forms of agriculture. Worm Castings are exactly what you think they are, worm poop. Worm castings are especially important in container gardening since there is no contact with native soil that already contains worms and their castings.
The easy solution here is to ensure that you are using at least one gallon containers and just drop a red wiggler aka compost worm on top. DO NOT add “Night Crawlers” to your container plants, night crawlers have a tendency to snack on living roots.
Although horse manure is not recommended as a soil amendment, for many reasons, a big pile of horse manure is a great place to search for compost worms. Other good places to look for a few are inside piles of grass clippings, underneath large flat objects on the ground or at the interface between all of the fallen plant matter in the forest and the soil underneath. Anywhere that organic matter sits and composts is a good place to find compost worms. Hence the name.
Just one compost worm in each container is enough to get a population going, although it can take some time. If you add too many to one container, the food sources inside will be depleted too fast and they will all just leave. Placing one compost worm per gallon in your container garden at the beginning of the growing season will serve you very well all year long.
There is no need to go out and spend crazy amounts of money on worm castings. There is no need to but those expensive worm farming containers. Just get some worms and be patient.
There is only really one situation that will not work for worms living in your growing containers. If you are using chemical fertilizers, your worms will not do very well at all. In fact, they will most likely die. In this case, you would need to purchase or farm your own worm castings. Do not despair, by the end of these articles, you will have the required knowledge to stop using chemical fertilizers. It is easy, give mother nature what she needs to do what she does and let her do it. She doesn’t need much, she just needs the right stuff.
Worms do need something to eat though. This is also simple. Any form of plant matter that is not hard like wood is good food for worms, save a couple things. Try to avoid citrus and capsaicin (peppers).
Some good things to use are a combination of
-non plastic coated paper
-grass clippings that do not have dog or cat excrement in them
-leafy greens and their stalks
-and many other things. If you would compost it, you can 99% of the time, feed it to your worms.
Just letting the worms live in your growing containers cuts you out as the middle man. There is no need to take up extra space with worm bins, castings sifters, lights, watering schedule or heat mats for winter.