Not All Worm Castings (Vermicompost) Are The Same!

worm castings, vermicompost

Over the years it has been pretty much been said as a rule of law that worm castings also referred to as vermicompost are worm castings and they are all the same. This statement could not be further from the truth.

To begin with the best worm castings are produced in the correct environmental conditions beginning with ambient temperature ranges which will also influence the bedding material temperatures based on type of bedding. The bedding material should be within 70-80 degrees Fahrenheit, to make the most of growing beneficial microbes. If using a system such as 14 Day Worm Castings our worms are raised in a controlled environment of 78 degrees Fahrenheit year round. If composting food scraps and brown wastes with Red Wigglers such as newspapers, the composting process of food scraps break down will generate heat. The amount of heat is dependent on variables such as how much is added daily weekly, ratio of brown versus green materials in your layers, etc. If doing this correctly then your worms can have an ambient air temperature of 60-80 degrees Fahrenheit.   

Reason for doing this is to produce the most beneficial microbes in your worm castings referred to the Mesophilic group of beneficial microbes. They are a group in the middle of the spectrum that grow in a range range of 65-110 degrees Fahrenheit.

Anything produced at a lower or higher temperature will produce a an inferior vermicompost without all the nutrients and beneficial live microbes which make worm castings if generated correctly, so beneficial. The same goes with the temperature you store them at. You want to store your worm castings in well ventilated environment at an ambient temperature of 70-100 degrees Fahrenheit.

Next since mentioned ventilation you need to understand the live microbes in your worm castings are aerobic ( require oxygen to survive). I see folks selling worm castings in sealed plastic bags all the time. This would be similar to winning a goldfish at the county fair, placing it on the mantle and forgetting about if for the next week. Eventually it dies and floats belly up, same holding true for live aerobic microbes which require oxygen to survive. Hence sealing in a plastic bag or storing in a non well ventilated area kills all the beneficial microbes rendering all your and your worms labor basically fruitless! Best way to sell and ship would be utilizing sand bags which are breathable and available in many sizes.

worm castings - vermicompost in breathable sand bag
15lbs. Worm Castings in Breathable Sandbag

Moisture is another factor. Some generate their worm castings especially when composting vegetable, newspaper scraps in a way to wet environment. Vermicompost should be moist not soaking wet,at in the neighborhood of 30-40 percent maximum. To dry your worms will dry out and die. To wet and you are actually creating an anaerobic environment similar to a swamp which can lead to odors as well as killing off your worms.