So, I know what you’re thinking. No really, I do. You are thinking: What the heck does potting soil have to do with nutrition. Well, a lot actually. Let’s chat.
See, late last winter I purchase some composting worms from Uncle Jim’s Worm Farm https://unclejimswormfarm.com/, red wigglers to be exact. They arrived in a cute green bag all ready to start munching. I already had an affinity for worms and I know when I work in my garden and I see worms, it’s a good sign. When my daughters go digging in the warmer months and come across worms they get just as excited. I guess it’s in the genes.
So I had my worms and I needed to give them a home. Over the months I have tried a few different homes for them. They like it cool so I usually keep them in the garage on my gardening bench in Tupperware storage bins, sometimes with lids, sometimes not. They will stay put if you keep their conditions right, not too wet but not too dry. I gave them shredded newspaper, the soil from the bag they came in and some fruit and vegetable kitchen scraps as well as some egg shells crushed up really fine.
There are some rules for what to give and what not to give the worms. I avoid citrus fruits, meats, cheese or any other dairy as well as fats. I keep it simple and give them fruit/vegetable peelings and scraps, coffee grounds and the filter, newspaper, paper from our shredder (as long as there are no staples or anything else that may harm the worms) and egg shells. In the warmer months I keep wet newspaper on top of them to help them keep cool. In colder months I just let the newspaper dry out but keep it on top.
I let them go for a week or two to get settled into their new home and when I checked back I saw that they had eaten the kitchen scraps just as I hoped they would. As you see the kitchen scraps are being eaten, just add more. According to the Cornell Composting site 2000 worms in a worm bin can make 7# of worm castings in a month. As they eat your “garbage” they poop out what are called worm castings.
This is the good stuff people! Worm castings are rich in nutrition such as nitrates, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium and calcium. When added to soil they increase the nutrition and provide plants with the things they need to grow healthy and full of nutrients for you! If your soil is deficient in nutrition, your plants will be too.
Recently, I came across a simple recipe for homemade potting soil, great for starting seedlings and for transplants. Well that’s perfect because it just so happens it’s January and I am already dreaming of my garden for spring. The potting soil only required three things:
- Peat Moss
- Worm castings or compost
I headed to the store and purchased #1 and#3, #2 I have covered. My girls helped me mix up the “recipe” which was 2 parts peat moss, 1 part worm castings and 1 part vermiculite. The end product was absolutely beautiful and will go to good use. This will add a ton of nutrition to some of my existing plants that need to be repotted as well as for seeds I plan to start for spring.
Making your own compost this way keeps food scraps out of landfills and is a way to repurpose something that would have been waste. All this while making the plants you grow MORE nutritious and who wouldn’t want that!
I hope you find this recipe helpful. If any of you make your own potting soil or compost I would love to hear about it!