Good Castings, Bad Castings
How do castings work?
Healthy soil is a living ecosystem. The key word here is “Living”. When “Viable” castings are added, they contribute large amounts of beneficial bacteria to the soil. Without beneficial bacteria, nothing (At least not anything we would be interested in) grows.
Have you ever purchased castings from a garden center or a big box store? Were the castings damp, or more like dry sandbox material? I call these cat box castings!
Ever wonder how and why this happens?
Here’s the scoop. There is time involved in getting the product to market, and the packaging is optimum.
Time to get the castings from the farmer to the distributor.
Time to get the castings from the distributor to the warehouse
Time to get the castings from the warehouse to the store.
The bags that are used for retail packaging contain micropores. Hundreds of thousands of them. During all this transit time, your castings are slowly drying out. To the point that they become non viable as the good bacteria requires moisture.
What does this mean?
Well, you’ve just purchased worthless (Or nearly worthless) castings. That’s not much of a bargain at any price.
Science says that castings can last a LONG time when properly maintained (IE provided oxygen and moisture).
How can you tell if your castings are still viable? Simple…put a few fast growing seeds in your castings. Grass seed works well for this. If the seeds sprout within the week and continue to grow, your castings are viable.
What’s the point?
Purchase your castings shipped straight from the farm. Use them right away, OR store them properly. 5 gallon buckets with a bunch of small air holes drilled in the neck of the buckets for stacking works well, as buckets retain moisture like a sponge.
You can purchase your castings from the garden center/big box store and HOPE…or buy them from the worm dealer and know you’ve received castings that were recently processed from the back end of living worms.