Worm Casting

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Worm Casting

Postby Trudy » Tue Apr 01, 2008 5:17 am

I was wondering if any of you great strep growers have ever used worm casting mixed into your soil mix? I thought I would give it a try with some of the leaves that I have put down. I put some leaves into soil with the worm casting and some leaves in the soil without the worm casting. I will let you know what the out come is.

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Postby dale4streps » Sun Apr 06, 2008 11:28 am

Ages ago when I first used worm castings I later found soil mealy bugs around the roots of my plants. I mentioned the fact to my club members and one of the members said that's why she stopped using it. I don't know if that's a problem any more, but if you've already used the product, be sure to check your roots in a few weeks. I don't trust any soil products and pasteurize all the soil. Otherwise it seems fungus gnats are a problem. I have a large canning pot. I put about a quart of water in the bottom and boil that. Then I remove the pot from the burner and add my soil, enough to make a thick "mud". Then I put the lid on the pot and let it cool over night. The next day I add perlite, vermiculite and horticultural charcoal.

It's very important not to leave the pot on the burner while adding the soil because it bubbles up and you could get a face full of very hot soil. I'm sure others on this list have recipes for using an oven to pasteurize soil, so I'm inviting others to share how they do that.
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Worm Casting

Postby Trudy » Sun Apr 06, 2008 3:56 pm

Dale,

Thank you for the heads up on the worm casting, I will watch for the mealies.

I will give your soil pasteurizing a try. I don't like to put my peat into the oven and it takes for ever. My husband doesn't appreciate the smell either.

Question, doesn't the boiling water kill all of the good stuff in the soil? I know that when you put it in the oven you have to watch the temperature.

Trudy
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Postby dale4streps » Mon Apr 07, 2008 11:34 am

Trudy,

I, too, at one time was concerned about possible damage to the soil mix by heating it. Some people like to add a product that has beneficial bacteria to the soil. If you were to do that, you'd have to add it after the soil was heated and then cooled. Otherwise my experiences with molds and snail eggs and fungus gnats makes me happily add the soil mix to boiling water. You don't get that nasty smell with the boiled water method. The kitchen smells like the outdoors after a rain (earthy). I've been doing that for at least 15 years now and manage to get a few ribbons at conventions, so my plants don't seem to suffer from whatever boiled water does to the soil mix. My method doesn't 100% get rid of the fungus gnat problem, but certainly cuts it down considerably. I was reminded of that when I used a popular soil mix straight from the bag for a Christmas cactus I was transplanting in September. We had fungus gnats flying around all winter!

Be sure to remove the pot from the burner and then carefully add the soil so it doesn't splash up and hit you. Quickly stir before putting the lid on the pot.
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Postby Trudy » Fri Apr 11, 2008 5:08 am

Dale,

Thank you for the good information, I will give it a try. Anything to keep from baking the soil.

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Postby Disa » Mon Apr 14, 2008 5:27 pm

What about freezing (below freezing point) the soil..? Does that work too?
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Postby dale4streps » Mon Apr 14, 2008 6:20 pm

That's a good question. I live in Illinois. The ground has been frozen since the end of November and began to thaw just a couple of weeks ago. If you saw all the insects flying around, you'd know why I don't think freezing kills insect eggs or larvae!!

Dale in Illinois
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Postby Disa » Mon Apr 14, 2008 6:26 pm

Haha, I know... I live in Sweden and we do (unfortunately) have many insects flying around here too...! ;) I just thought it might be different with the commercial soil that (shouldn't!) contain any 'normal' bugs..! ;) I had those small flies flying around (I don't know what they are called, but they live in the soil, and I think that those are the flies you are referring to in an earlier post). Those flies die if you freeze the soil (or at least their eggs dies). But of course... it doesn't prevent new flies to lay their eggs again in the soil..!
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